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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

PsyBio, Miami U broaden partnership to advance neuropsychiatric drug discovery


By David Schwartz
Published: May 4th, 2021

PsyBio Therapeutics Corp. has expanded its master research agreement with Miami University based in Oxford, OH, for the continued advancement of its neuropsychiatric drug discovery platform. 

The company, a pioneer in developing a new generation of targeted psychoactive medications, is expanding its focus beyond the ongoing research efforts of Dr. J Andrew Jones’ lab in the Department of Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering to now also include research work done by the McMurray Lab, run by Dr Matthew McMurray in the Department of Psychology. 

The company said it would provide “an additional$1.5 million in funding until May 2023 to Miami University to support all such research.” 

PsyBio expects the collaboration bring the company closer to the filing of an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA.

PsyBio co-founder and CEO Evan Levine said the initial collaboration has resulted in the discovery and scaled production of “two medically relevant tryptamine molecules” that are naturally present in psychoactive mushrooms.

“The compounds have been efficiently synthesized and studied in our labs and have now moved out of our labs into venerated commercial development facilities,” added Levine. “PsyBio believes that it can synthesize these molecules cheaper, faster, and greener than any other published method, and is unaware of any other company synergistically developing these natural alkaloids with the intent of commercial medical use.” The company has begun intellectual property protection on the preliminary synergistic properties of these natural alkaloids.

“We are extraordinarily fortunate to have the resources and relationships at Miami University to attract institutional investment capital that is interested in advancing a paradigm shift in the potential treatment of mental health,” said Jones, who is chairman of PsyBio’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) and assistant professor at the school. “Our work with the McMurray Lab and PsyBio is expected to enable the Jones Lab’s discoveries to advance from discovery to in vivo validation and industrial application, ultimately with a goal of shortening the time between potential discovery and treatment of patients.”

Under the initial master agreement signed a year ago, PsyBio acquired exclusive licensing rights to a platform technology that enables the rapid formulation of its lead compound psilocybin, biosynthetic psilocybin, and other targeted tryptamines through a biosynthetic process using genetically modified bacteria.

Under the amended agreement, the Jones Lab plans to develop microbes capable of producing a range of medically relevant alkaloids. The compounds originate from plants and fungi, including magic mushrooms. In conjunction with that research, the McMurray Lab plans to conduct IND-enabling, animal behavioral studies to verify the antidepressant, anxiolytic, anti-addictive effects of the alkaloids produced in the Jones Lab, with the next step being human trials.

Source: Proactive

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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