This Biotech Company Is Landing Ketamine-Assisted Therapy In England's Capital

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As it pushes ahead with expansion into the United States, one biotech company specializing in new addiction therapeutics is developing its presence in Europe, with London its latest location.

Awakn Life Sciences Corp. AWKN AWKNF said this month it received regulatory approval to use ketamine-assisted therapy at its flagship clinic in London. The move follows the start of operations at a Bristol, United Kingdom clinic and one in Oslo, Norway, late last year.

The London clinic news follows hot on the heels of the start of Awakn’s expansion into the U.S., where it plans to work with established addiction clinics to introduce its ketamine therapeutics treatments. The company hired former Alkermes plc ALKS pharmaceutical executive Kevin Lorenz to head up the company’s U.S. commercial development.

Same Approach?

Whether Awakn uses its own clinics like it does in Europe or works with clinics already established in the U.S. the aim is the same: to offer treatments with better outcomes than are currently available in the areas of addiction, specifically alcohol use disorder (AUD). Ketamine-assisted therapy can and is being used to treat other mental health disorders, Awakn says.

Based on Awakn’s published clinical trials, its ketamine-assisted therapy protocol showed 86% abstinence at six months post-treatment for AUD. In addition, the therapy showed a 2.7 times reduction in the chance of relapse compared to the placebo group, a statistically significant increase in liver function, a significant reduction in depression, and finally a significant decrease in the probability of mortality, the company says. 

The data compares with Awakn’s claims that only 16% of people who suffer from AUD seek treatment, and of those who do, 75% will relapse within 12 months.

The initial approval for Awakn’s London clinic was granted by the regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Awakn has also received a schedule 2 license from the U.K. government, so ketamine treatments can begin immediately at the clinic.

“Most importantly, it provides an effective treatment option for so many when other current therapies or treatments fall short,” Awakn Co-Founder and CEO Anthony Tennyson said of the news about Awakn treatment options at the London clinic. “The CQC giving us this recognition again signals a positive direction for the U.K. and Europe toward embracing ketamine-assisted therapy as a mainstream treatment.”

Other companies involved in offering similar ketamine therapeutics include KetamineOne Capital Ltd. MEDI and Atai Life Sciences NV ATAI.

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