This Biotech Company Says That It's Looking To Deliver A Breakthrough In Psychiatric Medicine — What's The Scoop?

Pasithea Therapeutics Corp. KTTA is a biotech company with a goal of investigating novel drug treatments to provide more effective relief to the estimated 792 million people around the world living with a mental health disorder.

Launched in 2020, the company emerged just as the COVID pandemic began sweeping the globe, triggering a 25% spike in depression and anxiety cases.

While the pandemic caused rates of mental health disorders to rise faster than usual, the need for new breakthrough treatments has arguably existed for decades.

Approximately 30% of people diagnosed with depression don’t respond to the current standard medications, and it’s been some time since novel compounds have hit the market. For the past 20 or so years, much of the industry has been focused on refining the existing antidepressants and mood stabilizers to decrease their side effects.

Pasithea reports that it wants to change that by integrating immunology and neuroscience to explore new drugs and gain a better understanding of the psychiatric and neurological diseases millions of people are suffering from.

Safer, More Effective Drugs For Patients With Inadequate Options?

Pasithea’s current pipeline includes PAT 101 for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and PAT 102 for multiple sclerosis, both in the preclinical discovery phase.

Like depression, schizophrenia has a high rate of treatment resistance with between 10% and 30% of patients not responding to the antipsychotics available. Even for patients who do respond to treatment, the improvement can be minor and not enough to offset the side effects.

Reportedly, the best treatment currently available for treatment-resistant schizophrenia is clozapine, which is only 30% effective at controlling schizophrenic episodes. In addition to a low efficacy rate, clozapine also comes with safety issues, including low blood pressure and seizures. 

Similarly, the best available treatment for bipolar disorder — a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotics or mood stabilizers — helps prevent manic episodes and hospitalization, but the combined treatment carries many side effects that can make them tough to stick with for the long term.

For multiple sclerosis, the most effective drugs for preventing disease progression and relapses work well but carry high risks including severe disability and even death. In short, while treatments exist for all of these, shortcomings and safety issues mean that patients sometimes have to make difficult choices and tradeoffs to get relief. 

That’s why companies like Pasithea are looking for new compounds that could provide better relief with fewer safety risks and side effects. In October, for example, the company partnered with Evotec SE EVO to begin developing a new small-molecule therapeutic that targets the neuro-inflammatory pathways associated with schizophrenia and depression.  In February, it partnered with Hooke Laboratories to work on a safe, tolerizing vaccine for Multiple Sclerosis.  Just last week the company announced the acquisition of Alpha-5 Integrin, which has a lead therapeutic candidate with a novel mechanism of action in the treatment of ALS.   

Clinical Partnerships May Provide Relief For Patients And Immediate Revenue Stream For Pasithea

In the U.K., for example, the biotech is working with Zen Healthcare, which owns three holistic medical and wellness clinics across the country, to make Pasithea’s ketamine infusion treatments available to patients in the UK. The company is also offering SPRAVATO, a ketamine-derivative administered via nasal spray manufactured by Johnson & Johnson JNJ subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

In the United States, Pasithea has partnered with The I.V. Doc — a mobile clinic service that provides intravenous treatments to patients in their homes — to roll out in-home ketamine treatments for patients across New York and California, with more states being added. 

It also announced the launch of an in-person clinic in Los Angeles that will offer ketamine infusions along with a range of other cutting-edge treatments, including repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), a brain-stimulation technique shown to help with certain drug-resistant mental health disorders.

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