Billions of dollars in investment, continuing to accelerate! Why is the research and development of mental illness therapy so “hot”?

▎WuXi AppTec Content Team Editor

We are experiencing a growing mental health crisis. The number of people with mental illness continues to increase globally, with about one in eight people currently suffering from a mental illness, with anxiety and depression being the most common. Over 70% of patients did not receive treatment.

On the other hand, mental disorders are becoming an important area of ​​continued growth in industry investment as advances in related fields such as genetics and neuroscience provide insights into therapeutic development. According to the IQVIA report, the central nervous system (CNS) has become the second largest therapeutic area after oncology in terms of the number of pipelines under development globally, and about 1/3 of the CNS pipelines are therapeutics under development for psychiatric diseases. In addition, taking the hot psychedelics therapy for depression in recent years as an example, from 2018 to 2021, more than 60 companies in this field have conducted more than 100 financings. Since 2020, the annual investment and financing amount has increased by about 10 to 30 times compared with previous years. And it continues to accelerate, and the total global investment and financing in 2021 is estimated to exceed 2 billion US dollars.

October 10, 2022 marks the 23rd World Mental Health Day. In response to a call by the World Health Organization (WHO) to make “mental health and well-being for all” a global priority, work together to accelerate the development of treatments for mental illness, October 15, 10am, Pharma Mingkant will hold a special session on the theme of R&D in the field of mental illness in the “Let Science Lead” series of forums. At that time, more than a dozen industry leaders, including academic leaders, innovative pharmaceutical companies “R&D leaders”, and industry investors, will gather in the cloud to jointly analyze the current urgent medical needs and gain insight into cutting-edge scientific hotspots and therapeutic innovation trends. This forum is open to the global audience for free. The full agenda and guest list are attached at the end of the article. Welcome to register to watch!

There is an urgent need to address mental health issues. In the first session, three industry leaders will focus on the current barriers to addressing and breaking down the management of mental illness.

Senior Director of the Milken Institute Center for Strategic PhilanthropyDr. Cara Altimus has worked in the field of neuroscience for more than ten years. She has led the US FDA The work of the Neural Interface Laboratory has also led large-scale research in the field of depression and bipolar disorder. She will share her insights into the real needs of patients, as well as new insights on building a multi-sectoral collaboration model in the ecosystem.

Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore Institute of Mental HealthDr Daniel Fung has a strong reputation in the field of child and adolescent psychiatry, and he will bring to the attention of Dr Daniel Fung strong>Thinking of disease heterogeneity, and the promising new horizons opened up by biomarkers, digital technology.

Chair of Yale’s Department of PsychiatryDr. John Krystal is always at the forefront of science, and his team uncovers the mechanism of ketamine’s rapid antidepressant , which directly contributed to the breakthrough of antidepressants. He will discuss the importance of understanding disease at the molecular and neural circuit levels, and how to bridge the gap between basic research and clinical needs.

As scientific insights accumulate and industry input recovers, the field of psychiatric research is booming. In the following discussion, the “heads of R&D” of several innovative pharmaceutical companies will elaborate on the R&D innovation landscape in their eyes.

Many new molecular drugs with different mechanisms of action and different types, what are the advantages and potentials of each? Dr. John Dunlop, Head of R&D at Neumora Corporation will bring his unique insights. Neumora focuses on the development of precision medicines for brain diseases, by integrating multiple types of data to explore the multiple drivers and precise phenotypes of brain diseases, and then match targeted therapies. Its investigational treatment for depression, the kappa opioid receptor (KOR) antagonist MNRA-140, has advanced to Phase 2 studies.

The development of multi-omics such as genomics, proteomics, microbiome, etc. provides us with a deep understanding of disease mechanism and precise exploration of diagnosis and treatment targets from different perspectives It provides an important way; the new prospects of technological change brought about by digital health are also expanding the boundaries of overall solutions for mental illness. In the process of clinical development and efficacy validation, how to integrate and leverage the value of these tools to better conduct trial design and endpoint selection? Several guests will bring insightful discussions. Mr. Barry Greene, CEO and Director of Sage Therapeutics has more than 30 years of experience in the industry, and Dr. Ekaterina Malievskaia, Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of COMPASS Pathways has more than 15 years of experience in the industry. With years of clinical experience, Delix Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brigitte (Bigs) Robertson has a career spanning clinical, academia and industry with companies with active pipelines in neuropsychiatry is advancing.

The development of next-generation therapies also requires collaboration. Murali Gopalakrishnan, Ph.D., Global Head of Neuroscience Research and Evaluation, AbbVie’s Strategic Division has a proven track record of advancing therapies across multiple therapeutic areas, and will analyze the value of collaboration by focusing on R&D pain points. Ms. Lauren Martz, Executive Director of BioCentury Biomedical Intelligence, also has insight into the breakthrough trends of technology and therapy. She believes that the questions she raises will inspire the thinking of colleagues in the industry.

High-quality, better-value psychiatric care goes beyond medication. What tools and management methods have the potential to improve early diagnosis and guide treatment options in the hot digital health and telecare fields? Up and down the routine clinical chain, from therapy trials to community-based support, how do we truly bring comprehensive and individualized care to patients? This is not only reflected in the therapeutic target, but alsoNeed to adapt to the different states of the patient over time.

In the final session of the forum,two panelists will lead us to look at the challenges and opportunities of multiple models of care. Google Ventures (GV) General Partner Dr. Ben Robbins started his career in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, where he is currently active in neuropsychiatry Areas of investment in treatment and healthcare services. Ms. Daphne Zohar, founder and CEO of PureTech Health is a well-known innovation leader in the biotechnology industry. Under her leadership, PureTech currently has 27 therapies and candidates in its pipeline, including 2 have been approved by European and American regulatory agencies, and 17 are in clinical stage.

Committed to continuously promoting innovative breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment to benefit patients around the world, this is also the 11th session of WuXi AppTec’s “Let Science Lead” series of forums. We look forward to working with colleagues in the global industry to bring transformative medicines to patients faster with the power of science, cooperation and platform, so that more people can enjoy mental health!

Image source: 123RF

References (swipe up and down to view)

[1] World Health Organization. (2022). World Mental Health Report: Transitioning to Mental Health Services for All, v-4. World Health Organization.

[2] WHO highlights urgent need to transform mental health and mental health care. Retrieved Sep 30, 2022 from https: 06-2022-who-highlights-urgent-need-to-transform-mental-health-and-mental-health-care

[3] A New Dawn: At the Cusp of the CNS Decade. Retrieved Oct 1, 2022 from https: /library/white-papers/iqvia-a-new-dawn-at-the-cusp-of-the-cns-decade.pdf

[4] Panoramic Review of Global Pharmaceutical R&D in 2021. Retrieved Oct 5, 2022 from https: /viewpoint-issue-60

[5] The Investment Surge in Psychedelics for Treatment of Mental Health Conditions. Retrieved Sep 30, 2022 from https: -psychedelics-treatment-mental-health-conditions

[6] Abdallah CG, De Feyter HM, Averill LA, Jiang L, Averill CL, Chowdhury GMI, Purohit P, de Graaf RA, Esterlis I, Juchem C, Pittman BP, Krystal JH , Rothman DL, Sanacora G, Mason GF. The effects of ketamine on prefrontal glutamate neurotransmission in healthy and depressed subjects. Neuropsychopharmacology : Official Publication Of The American College Of Neuropsychopharmacology 2018, 43: 2154-2160. PMID: 29977074, PMCID: PMC6098048, DOI: 10.1038/s41386-018-0136-3.

[7] Duman RS, Aghajanian GK, Sanacora G, Krystal JH. Synaptic plasticity and depression: new insights from stress and rapid-acting antidepressants. Nature Medicine 2016, 22: 238-49. PMID: 26937618, PMCID: PMC5405628, DOI: 10.1038/nm.4050.

Disclaimer: The WuXi AppTec content team focuses on global biomedical health research progress. This article is for information exchange purposes only, and the views expressed in this article do not represent WuXi AppTec’s position, nor do they represent WuXi AppTec’s support or opposition to the views expressed in this article. This article is also not a treatment plan recommendation. For guidance on treatment options, please visit a regular hospital.

Copyright note: This article is from WuXi AppTec’s content team. Individuals are welcome to forward it to the circle of friends, and media or institutions are not allowed to reprint it to other platforms in any form without authorization. For reprint authorization, please reply to “Reprint” on the WeChat public account of “WuXi AppTec” for instructions on reprinting.