LONDON and NEW YORK, July 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, ATAI Life Sciences ("ATAI" or the "Company"), a global biotech developing psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds for a variety of mental health indications, announced the launch of Viridia Life Sciences, a wholly-owned subsidiary developing novel formulations of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) to treat a variety of mental health disorders.
"Our goal is to ensure maximum access to innovative mental health therapies," said Florian Brand, CEO of ATAI. "DMT represents an opportunity to reach those who might be unable or unwilling to undergo a longer psychedelic experience."
DMT is a psychoactive indole alkaloid present in Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic brew traditionally used in ceremonial settings in South America. Like many psychedelic compounds, DMT acts as a partial agonist on a variety of 5-HT receptors, though it exhibits comparatively more rapid onset and shorter duration of action. For example, unlike a psilocybin experience, which can last upwards of 6-hours, DMT's hallucinogenic effects can pass in less than 15 minutes.
Moreover, while DMT is commonly administered intravenously, Viridia is leveraging ATAI Life Science's drug development expertise to generate multiple DMT products based on alternative routes of administration.
"These novel products are expected to simplify in-clinic administration and allow greater pharmacokinetic control of the psychedelic experience and its overall duration," said Srinivas Rao, Chief Scientific Officer of ATAI. "Patients may even be able to attend psychotherapy sessions later the same day."
While there have been few well-controlled clinical studies exploring isolated DMT as a treatment for depression, several recent studies have demonstrated the utility of Ayahuasca in the treatment of major depression. In rat cells, however, in vitro assays have shown DMT to promote neuroplasticity, as assessed by neuronal growth and increased synaptic connections, both processes correlated with improvements in depressive symptoms. Moreover, EEG observations of DMT's effects on brainwaves have shown changes hypothesized to be beneficial for depression.
"This pragmatic approach to simplifying DMT administration and in-clinic treatment will help people access not only the neurogenic benefits of DMT, but also the personal insights that can accompany psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy," said Glenn Short, CEO of Viridia. "The impact for patients and their families may be transformative."
Importantly, Viridia's DMT product will be paired with a digital therapeutic being developed by ATAI-company Introspect Digital Therapeutics, with the aim of streamlining preparation, integration, and continued patient engagement.
Development is underway with clinical trials expected to begin early next year.
Company Contact: Allan Malievsky ATAI Life Sciences Phone: +1 (917) 974-1371 Email: [email protected]
About ATAI Life Sciences ATAI Life Sciences AG is a global biotech platform and company builder founded by Christian Angermayer. Based in Berlin, New York and San Diego, its vision is to cure mental health disorders, enabling people to live healthier and happier lives.