Chief Executive Officer’s Letter
Focus & Strategy
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the burden of brain and central nervous system (CNS) disorders constitutes 35% to 38% of the total burden of all diseases, compared to 12.7% for cancer and 11.8% for cardiovascular disease.
Today, most CNS diseases are poorly treated and pose significant unmet needs. Innovative therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. These include both symptomatic and disease-modifying pharmacological treatments with clear efficacy and a high safety margin. The reformulation and combination of existing treatments have generally resulted in minor incremental improvements in efficacy, safety, functional outcome and quality of life for patients.
In the 1980s, we began to see the emergence of biological neuro-psychiatry, with new tools for the diagnosis and treatment of CNS diseases. These included brain imaging, electrophysiology, neuroendocrinology and geno/phenotyping. The value of such tools has increased as it has become more evident that improved response rates to existing therapies among patients suffering from CNS disorders will require the identification of better defined target groups of patients based on biology and clinical characteristics.
The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states: “Scientific evidence now places many, if not most, disorders on a spectrum of closely related disorders that have shared symptoms.” DSM-5 describes the boundaries between disorders as “more porous than originally perceived.” Symptoms shared across these disorders are as diverse as cognitive impairment, insomnia, mood disorders, sexual dysfunction and anxiety.
This insight is fueling a growing awareness of the validity of biomarkers and symptom prevalence that help define groups of patients across multiple formally diagnosed CNS diseases who will respond to specific treatments. The implementation of symptomatic biomarkers in clinical practice is helping to usher in an era of personalized medicine for CNS diseases that incorporates improvements in diagnosis, dose selection, targeting and monitoring of symptomatological improvement and feedback to patients and treating physicians.
What is Minerva’s role in this evolving landscape? Our mission is focused on developing new therapies for CNS diseases with extensive unmet medical needs. Toward that end, we are applying the knowledge and expertise our team has accumulated over more than 30 years working in both clinical facilities and on pre-clinical and clinical research projects. Our programs are designed to address the limited, short-term benefits and often debilitating side effects associated with current treatments.
We believe that the mechanisms of action at the heart of our product candidates are innovative and that we can best develop these candidates by decreasing the attrition rate and minimizing the risk of failure among treated patients. The selection of products with novel mechanisms must therefore be supported by subsequent rigorous screening of patients before they are enrolled in our trials. Both processes require insights into disease pathology, prevalent symptomologies, and unmet patient needs.
Our relationships with large, multi-national pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, with whom we are developing seltorexant (MIN-202), and Mitsubishi Tanabe, from whom we have licensed rights to MIN-101 and MIN-117, help inform our long-term clinical development and regulatory activities. These partners possess highly relevant experience and a commitment to supporting the development of products in the CNS area.
We invite you to learn more about our products and how they are designed to treat our target diseases of schizophrenia, depression, insomnia and mood disorders, and Parkinson’s disease. Minerva is driven by the profound human impact, extensive demographic reach and serious financial burden of the diseases we are targeting. Our focus is clear: to address the debilitating and incapacitating unmet needs of millions of patients suffering from these diseases.
Remy Luthringer, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Minerva is driven by the profound human impact, extensive demographic reach and serious financial burden of the diseases we are targeting. Our focus is clear: to address the debilitating and incapacitating unmet needs of millions of patients suffering from these diseases.