Biopharma company Enveric Biosciences ENVB has shared new findings involving the first-ever isolation of a specific enzyme from the cane toad, plus the successful development of a bioproduction platform for the isolation and pharmacological screening of novel molecules belonging to the indolethylamine family.
Researchers at the University of Calgary led by Enveric’s CIO Dr. Peter Facchini successfully isolated a novel indolethylamine N-methyltransferase (RmNMT) from cane toads, representing the first alkaloid biosynthetic gene and cognate enzyme isolated from the species.
Interestingly, functionally similar enzymes are found in mammals and fungi too. Yet only the RmNMT found on the toads, because of their efficiency and promiscuity, qualifies as suitable for the bioproduction of novel indolethylamine derivatives.
The discovery has propelled the creation of an innovative platform for the bio-based production, purification, and screening of novel indolethylamine-type drug candidates with potential use in psychiatric medicine.
So far, purification and screening experiments involving RmNMT in mice revealed important data on candidate stability, receptor activity, and ability to induce hallucination.
“Developing psychedelic-inspired, novel drug compounds at scale requires bioproduction platforms as an alternative to traditional chemical synthesis,” explained Dr. Facchini. “Unfortunately, most bioproduction platforms fail to achieve the throughput, scale and versatility of synthetic chemistry due, in great part, to a lack of efficient and promiscuous catalysts.”
Joseph Tucker, Ph.D., the company’s CEO and a speaker at the upcoming Psychedelics Capital Conference (see below) stated that it is Enveric’s mission to “bring ‘science to psychedelics’” through identifying and developing novel compounds for the treatment of mental health conditions underserved by current treatments.
To that end, noted Tucker, the company expects to soon begin a first-in-human trial of lead drug EB-373 for the treatment of anxiety disorders, while simultaneously advancing program EVM301 which is set to enable the development of next-generation compounds optimized with psychoactive properties but without the hallucinatory effect.
“The discovery of RmNMT and the advancement of a differentiated bioproduction platform, as described in the manuscript, exemplifies Enveric’s ability to leverage unique approaches to create new molecules with novel and potentially beneficial pharmacology for the treatment of mental health disorders,” Tucker concluded.
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