Pre-clinical biotech psychedelics company Psylo has signed an agreement with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO to collaboratively investigate the therapeutic potential of the company’s lead drug candidates.
Based at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, the company’s goal is to produce highly optimized and proprietary psychedelic therapeutics for current and emerging clinical needs.
As an innovation catalyst and through its collaborative research, CSIRO aims at turning science into solutions for health, wellbeing and innovative industries.
In this sense, the national agency will introduce Psylo’s novel compounds to neuronal cell cultures to assess their potential to improve brain function. Measuring neuroplasticity or “the rewiring of neural networks in the brain” is critical for the development of treatments for mental diseases, which are characterized by detrimental structural changes in those networks.
As explained by professor Danny Hoyer, Psylo’s head of molecular pharmacology, “Major depression is characterized by cortical neuron atrophy, which includes neurite retraction, dendritic spine loss, and decreased synaptic density.”
Hoyer is optimistic that their proprietary drugs’ effects on cortical neuronal structure will be predictive of their rapid and lasting effects on major depression, PTSD and other neuropsychiatric diseases, compared to the effects produced by classical antidepressants such as SSRIs.
CSIRO senior research scientist and team leader Dr. Ben Cao explained: “By running Psylo’s compounds through a cortical neuron screen we will be able to measure dendritic arbor complexity at various time points from exposure. By comparing those results with those of compounds known to elicit neuroplastic effects, CSIRO can provide unique insight into the biological effect these compounds are likely to have on the brain.”
CSIRO is currently establishing and validating the assay and expects the project will take about 6 months to complete. The current study received support from CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative providing funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.
If successful, the project will mark a critical stage in the progression of Psylo’s research program and will prove instrumental in substantiating a number of provisional patent applications the company has filed.
“This experiment provides a key gating point for translating our R&D from the bench to the bedside,” said Dr. Samuel Banister, CSO of Psylo.
For his part, CEO Josh Ismin said, “This is a monumental step in progressing our drug-development pipeline. We’re incredibly lucky to have access to such cutting-edge capability at our fingertips in Australia.”
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