Pre-clinical research of BetterLife Pharma’s (CSE: BETR) lead drug a non-hallucinogenic psychedelic analogue has shown it promotes structural neural plasticity in an animal model along with anti-depressant effects.
The second-generation drug BETR-001 is a non-hallucinogenic derivative of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
During BetterLife’s pre-clinical trial, treating cortical rat neurons with BETR-001 increased the structural complexity of neurons.
BetterLife noted this provides evidence of BETR-001’s neural plasticity activity.
According to BetterLife, atrophy of brain neurons is critical in the pathophysiology of depression and related disorders.
Increased structural plasticity in brain neurons has been linked to sustained antidepressant effects.
BetterLife Pharma chief executive officer Ahmad Doroudian said the results of the study are encouraging for the company’s lead drug.
“These results confirm that our proprietary BETR-001, an LSD analog, retains the anti-depressant and neural plasticity activity of LSD without causing hallucination,” he said.
“The fact that BETR-001 can promote structural plasticity in the prefrontal cortex neurons indicates its therapeutic effects in depression and related disorders, providing a potential patient friendly treatments addressing a very large unmet medical need affecting large number of patients globally.”
BetterLife’s two drugs in preclinical and IND studies
BETR-001 is in the process of pre-clinical and investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies to determine the pharmacological and toxicological properties.
BetterLife says BETR-001 is unique because it is unregulated and can be self-administered.
The company has a synthesis patent for BETR-001, which is says eliminates regulatory hurdles. There is also a pending patent for the composition and method of use that covers treatment for depression, cluster headaches, post-traumatic stress disorder and other similar conditions.
Meanwhile, BETR-002 is also involved in pre-clinical and IND-enabling studies.
BETR-002 is based on honokiol, which is poly-phenolic compound with neuroprotective properties. BetterLife expects BETR-002 has the potential to treat anxiety, pain, cerebrovascular injury, epilepsy, and cognitive disorders.
The company also owns a drug candidate for the treatment of viral infections and is seeking strategic alternatives for further development.