Wayne State Enters Agreement to Develop Drugs to Treat Depression, Other Disorders

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Wayne State University has entered into an exclusive license agreement with a drug company to help develop a class of novel drugs to potentially help treat post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, and ADHD, among other neurological disorders.

The university announced TRImaran Pharma Inc. will help take the drugs through the clinical testing stages to eventually bring the drugs to market. Terms of the deal were not released.

Aloke Dutta, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Wayne State, has developed lead molecules based on unique molecular structures known as triple reuptake inhibitors that enhance serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine transmitters, thereby producing therapeutic effects. 

"All three neurotransmitters are known to play important roles in numerous neuronal processes, including mood, anxiety, stress responses, depression, cognition, attention, urinary flow, pain, impulse control, and more," Dutta says. "Based on these roles, enhancing their transmission is thought to be a sound approach to treating abnormalities in these processes."

Dutta says the drugs can be "tuned" to provide the appropriate ratio for each disease and disorder.

"The currently used medications for our target indications — post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, and ADHD — have low efficacy and troublesome adverse events," says Frank Bymaster, chief scientific officer of TRImaran. "We believe Dutta's triple reuptake inhibitors will be able to meet the significant unmet medical needs in these target indications."

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