ATAI dives into digital therapeutics to boost mental health care – FierceBiotech

Posted: June 22, 2020 at 3:47 pm

This post was added by Alex Diaz-Granados

ATAI Life Sciences aims to transform mental health care, backing companies working on new treatments for depression, anxiety and addiction. Now, its adding digital tools to the mix through a new company called IntroSpect Digital Therapeutics.

IntroSpect will create digital tools and devices that will magnify the effects of drugs in development at ATAIs companies, David Keene, CEO of IntroSpect, told Fierce MedTech.

The use of digital biomarkers could help doctors tailor doses for each patient and improve their treatment: With improved understanding of how individual biological phenotypes align with responses to certain interventions, clinicians will be better able to predict patients recovery pathways, said Srinivas Rao, chief scientific officer of ATAI Life Sciences, in a statement. This, in turn, will cut down trial and error and shorten the time to therapeutic impact. And for those with difficult to treat mental illnesses, time is absolutely critical.

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Another use case is remote monitoring, which could make psychedelic treatments available for patients who live far away from treatment centers. The technology could come in handy at Compass Pathways, for example, which is working on a psilocybin therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression.

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What separates apart a recreational psychedelic experience versus a clinical one is the clinical setting and aftercare therapy, Keene said. This type of aftercare can help patients take advantage of the neuroplasticitythe brains ability to change itselfthat comes with a psychedelic experience and use it to make life changes, Keene said.

Digitizing aftercare can widen access to psychedelic treatment for ailments such as addiction or depression. But thats not allthe digital tools could also be treatments themselves, helping patients learn new behaviors in the window of opportunity after psychedelics treatment.

A lot of digital therapeutics are based on psychological education, like cognitive behavioral therapy They are far more effective when the brain is in a state it can learn new things, Keene said.

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IntroSpect is working on a modular system so it can apply its digital tools to the various disease areas in ATAIs portfolio. In addition to Compass Pathways, the company has backed Perception Neuroscience, which is working on a ketamine-like drug for depression, and Neuronasal, which is working on a treatment for concussion that is given through the nose. Its also set up joint ventures aimed at developing a neurochemical reset for opioid addiction and artificial-intelligence-based drug discovery for illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The company is building the technology for substance use disorder and treatment-resistant depression, Keene said. Its starting with two indications so it doesnt end up making something thats too specialized and cant be adapted to other diseases.

ATAI dives into digital therapeutics to boost mental health care - FierceBiotech

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