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Delix Therapeutics Co-Founder Publishes Groundbreaking Study Demonstrating Therapeutic Potential for a Psychedelic Analog—Without Hallucinogenic Effects

The peer-reviewed study published in Cell shows massive promise for psychiatric treatment 

BOSTON (April 28, 2021) – Delix Therapeutics, a preclinical biotech company developing novel disease-modifying therapeutics for serious psychiatric and neurological conditions, lauded a study published today in the highly-regarded scientific journal Cell by Delix Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Professor David E. Olson, PhD. 

The paper, co-authored by Olson and collaborator Lin Tian, PhD, both of whom are professors at the University of California, Davis, reveals DLX-1—a new compound inspired by the chemical structures of common psychedelic substances that demonstrates sustained antidepressant effects but without hallucinogenic properties. DLX-1—also known as AAZ—is the second published example of a non-hallucinatory Delix Therapeutics compound capable of achieving rapid and sustained therapeutic efficacy in preclinical animal models. Preclinical results for DLX-7, also known as TBG, were published in Nature last December.

Delix’s scientific mission combines leading-edge, psychedelic-inspired science and neuroplasticity research with the rigors of traditional central nervous system drug discovery. By leveraging the tools of modern neuropharmacology as well as innovative, novel technologies—such as the psychLight biosensor recently described in Cell—Delix has built a platform to advance a suite of novel neuroplasticity-promoting compounds with disease-modifying properties, but without hallucinogenic potential or other safety issues.  

These novel compounds, known as non-hallucinogenic Psychoplastogens, can be more easily identified with the help of psychLight, the first biosensor capable of predicting hallucinogenic potential in vitro. The psychLight assay serves as an important piece of the Delix platform by allowing the Company to predict the hallucinogenic potential of their compounds without relying solely on animal testing. Delix has also extended the findings of the recent Cell paper by using the assay to screen subsets of more than 500 additional proprietary compounds from their medicinal chemistry library, which have already demonstrated neuroplasticity-promoting properties. 

“Extensive research has clearly demonstrated the importance of neuroplasticity for achieving durable responses to antidepressants, and evidence continues to mount—suggesting that induced neuroplasticity can be harnessed without producing hallucinations. This paper represents a milestone in the evolution of psychedelics into safer and more widely accessible medicines.” said Olson. 

“Delix applies the highest scientific rigor to develop, and eventually commercialize, new Psychoplastogen-based medicines. If we hope to address the underserved needs of millions of mental health patients, we need safer, scaleable treatment options. Our focus is on contributing toand extending–the promising scientific research related to psychedelics. The publication in Cell demonstrates that non-hallucinatory treatment options may be possible,” said Delix Therapeutics CEO Mark Rus. “DLX-1 is just the tip of the iceberg—one of many assets within the Delix platform. We look forward to continuing our preclinical and clinical studies as part of our mission to develop fast-acting, long-lasting, take-at-home medicines capable of treating a range of central nervous system disorders.” 

Prior to this study, Delix’s science and compound candidates have been the subject of multiple scientific publications in such journals as NatureCell Reports and the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The research stems from proprietary neuroplasticity-promoting technology licensed from the University of California, Davis laboratory of Company Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Professor David E. Olson, Ph.D. 

About Delix Therapeutics 

Delix Therapeutics is a neuroscience company focused on harnessing the power of Psychoplastogens—novel neuroplasticity-promoting therapeutics—to better treat mental health disorders at scale. The company’s compounds are easily manufactured small molecules capable of rapidly inducing structural and functional neural changes in targeted areas of the brain. Many of these molecules are inspired by psychedelic compounds and preserve their efficacy-promoting mechanisms while avoiding their hallucinogenic properties and other safety liabilities. Delix is rapidly advancing these compounds through preclinical and clinical development to bring patients FDA-approved, take-home medicines that will serve several unmet needs. Headquartered in Massachusetts, Delix is building a world-class biotechnology company with an experienced team and by applying scientific rigor to address the significant and growing mental health challenges impacting society.