atai Life Sciences launches InnarisBio, in partnership with the University of Queensland, with the aim to develop a more effective nose-to-brain delivery method for atai's platform of mental health therapeutic programs
BERLIN and BRISBANE, Australia, July 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- atai Life Sciences (“atai” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: ATAI), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company aiming to transform the treatment of mental health disorders, and UniQuest, Australia’s leading university technology transfer company commercializing the research of The University of Queensland (UQ), today announced the launch of InnarisBio Inc. (InnarisBio), to develop a novel sol-gel intranasal drug delivery technology to improve treatments for mental health disorders.
InnarisBio aims to commercialize the sol-gel intranasal drug delivery platform technology developed in the laboratory of UQ researcher Dr. Harendra (Harry) Parekh at the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences. The platform technology, which also includes a patent filing, was licensed to InnarisBio by UniQuest. Under the terms of the license, InnarisBio will receive exclusive rights in their desired fields.
The sol-gel technology is designed to deliver pharmaceutical compounds as a liquid at room temperature which becomes a gel at body temperature. The platform technology has been successfully utilized with both water soluble and insoluble compounds and extracts.
Traditional drug delivery methods can be problematic in the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) disorders due to the blood–brain barrier that restricts the CNS entry of therapeutic agents, thereby decreasing drug efficacy. A potential solution is direct nose-to-brain delivery. It has the potential to be a painless and non-invasive administration route and may offer additional advantages such as increased patient compliance, lower dose requirements than oral administration, rapid onset of action and minimized systemic exposure, which may reduce the risk of peripheral toxicity.
“InnarisBio aims to be a revolutionary technology company for intranasal drug delivery in the treatment of CNS disorders. Dr Parekh and his team at The University of Queensland have worked diligently to develop a platform technology that may mitigate many of the drawbacks typically associated with traditional drug delivery in the CNS space,” said Florian Brand, CEO and co-founder of atai Life Sciences. “This novel technology has the potential to be superior to other intranasal drug delivery methods available by improving absolute uptake and duration of uptake through muco-adhesion in the nose, reducing dose administered and dosing frequency. We plan to explore the potential use of this technology for a variety of psychedelic and non-psychedelc compounds across atai’s platform.”
“We are excited by the role that UQ’s licensed technology may potentially play in solving one of the world’s most complex health problems,” said Dr. Dean Moss, CEO of UniQuest. “This innovative UQ technology could play a role in helping to tackle the scourge of mental illness; it is an exciting development for the sol-gel technology developed here at UQ and is another terrific example of the power of UQ research to create meaningful change.”
Under the terms of the license, InnarisBio will receive exclusive rights in their desired fields and UniQuest will receive equity in InnarisBio along with the potential to receive future development and commercial milestone payments and a royalty on product sales.
InnarisBio will collaborate with UniQuest, UQ’s Dr Parekh and his research team to formulate and develop bespoke sol-gel formulations for several psychedelic and non-psychedelic compounds nominated by InnarisBio.
About atai Life Sciences
UniQuest is a leading university-based commercialisation company, managing the intellectual property (IP) of The University of Queensland (UQ). UniQuest has facilitated more than 100 start-up companies built on UQ IP, a milestone unsurpassed by any other Australian university. These companies have gone on to raise more than $794M to take UQ technologies to market. The Queensland Emory Drug Discovery Initiative (QEDDI), a division of UniQuest, is a small molecule drug discovery and development facility translating The University of Queensland and collaborator’s biomedical research into new medicines to deliver faster health benefits. UniQuest is a partner on the MRFF Biomedical Translation Bridge (BTB) Program with MTPConnect.
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