INNOVATION & PIPELINE
In Development for the Treatment of Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Roluperidone is a compound that has been shown to block serotonin, sigma and α-adrenergic receptors that are involved in the regulation of mood, cognition, sleep and anxiety. We are developing roluperidone to treat the negative symptoms of patients with schizophrenia.
Roluperidone has been designed to block a specific subtype of serotonin receptor called 5-HT2A. When 5-HT2A is blocked, certain symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations, delusions, agitation and thought and movement disorders, as well as the side effects associated with antipsychotic treatments, can be minimized. Additionally, blocking 5-HT2A promotes slow wave sleep, a sleep stage often disrupted in patients with schizophrenia. Roluperidone has also been designed to block a specific subtype of sigma receptor called sigma2, which is involved in movement control, psychotic symptom control and learning and memory. Blocking sigma2, along with blocking the α‑adrenergic subtypes α1A, and to a lesser extent α1B, also increases calcium levels in neurons in the brain, which can improve memory. Pre-clinical findings provide evidence of the effect of roluperidone on Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (“BDNF”), which has been associated with neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, neuroprotection, synapse regulation, learning and memory.
We believe the scientifically supported and innovative mechanisms of action of roluperidone may potentially address the unmet needs of schizophrenic patients, which include negative symptoms and cognitive impairment, without the side effects of existing therapies. Negative symptoms are lifelong debilitating symptoms and include: asociality, or the lack of motivation to engage in social interactions; anhedonia, or the inability to experience positive emotions; alogia, or failure to engage in normal conversation; avolition, or loss of energy and interest in activities; and blunted affect, or diminished emotional expression. We plan to seek approval of roluperidone initially as a first line treatment of negative symptoms in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, and we also may study its use to treat all aspects of the disease, including positive symptoms and relapse prevention. We believe that roluperidone, if approved, could treat the majority of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. An estimated 69% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia have negative symptoms, with at least 42% of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia having prominent negative symptoms.
Beyond schizophrenia, we believe roluperidone may possess therapeutic utility in brain disorders where negative symptoms are a core feature of the disease associated with a range of poor clinical outcomes. These potential indications include apathy in dementia, for which we have filed an Investigational New Drug (“IND”) application, the majority of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, autism spectrum disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and depression.
Learn more about schizophrenia.