CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- SAGE Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines to treat central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced the company has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Washington University in St. Louis to develop and commercialize novel small molecule GABAA receptor allosteric modulators for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases. The technology developed at Washington University complements and strengthens SAGE’s proprietary product engine, the Positive and Negative Allosteric Modulator (PANAM) platform, and also will aid in accelerating the development of novel compounds for sedation and anesthesia during surgeries or other medical procedures.
“The Washington University team has been a leader in the biology and chemistry of GABAA receptor allosteric modulators for more than 20 years,” said Stephen Kanes, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer of SAGE Therapeutics. “We are continuing our commitment to work with leading investigators in the field of allosteric modulation to rapidly move our pipeline of CNS programs forward and ultimately deliver more effective therapies to patients.”
Existing therapeutic options for sedation during medical procedures are limited by both efficacy and safety challenges. GABAA receptors are an attractive target for the treatment of a multitude of CNS disorders, including procedural anesthesia and sedation, but traditional approaches of inhibiting or activating the GABA pathway via synaptic sites have been associated with significant toxicities. SAGE’s unique and proprietary approach of positive allosteric modulation of the GABAA receptor “fine-tunes” brain activity and has the potential to deliver effective treatment, while limiting the harmful side effects seen with many therapeutic approaches. As a result of the collaboration with Washington University, the SAGE team has accelerated the development of a novel therapeutic agent for procedural sedation that may enable rapid onset and rapid clear-headed offset, along with improved potential for minimizing cardiovascular and respiratory side effects.
“The combination of our PANAM platform and the Washington University technology will allow SAGE to rapidly advance a novel compound into the clinic in procedural sedation, and potentially other indications,” said Jeff Jonas, M.D., chief executive officer of SAGE. “While our focus continues to be on specialty and orphan CNS conditions influenced by the GABA and NMDA pathways, we also see significant opportunities to maximize larger market opportunities, including sedation and anesthesia, through strategic industry partnerships.”
About SAGE Therapeutics
SAGE Therapeutics is a neuroscience-focused company developing therapies to treat CNS specialty and orphan diseases. The company has identified several product opportunities with clear and accelerated paths to regulatory approval. SAGE’s initial pipeline includes programs in status epilepticus, anesthesia, Fragile X Syndrome and traumatic brain injury, where CNS drugs poorly address the areas of most urgent patient need and are often accompanied by considerable side effects. The company’s robust allosteric modulator chemistry platform – called the Positive and Negative Allosteric Modulator (PANAM) platform – has generated multiple new chemical entities supported by promising preclinical data with the potential to lead to products with multiple indications over the next several years. SAGE Therapeutics is a private company launched in 2011 by a proven team of R&D leaders, renowned CNS experts and Third Rock Ventures. For more information, please visit www.sagerx.com.