09 Aug 2021

Discovery Park scientists combine lab and human trials, as psilocybin offers hope for people with an end-of-life diagnosis

The team at pre-clinical CRO Transpharmation, based at Discovery Park, have embarked on a new partnership with human clinical trials specialist Clerkenwell Health to strengthen the correlation and interpretation of lab and human studies.

The approach is designed to remove disparity between lab and clinical trials, enabling researchers and drug developers to reach stronger conclusions and, ultimately, to get drugs to market more quickly.

The combined team is initially studying the potential of the psychadelic prodrug compound psilocybin to ease depressive symptoms for people who have been given an end-of-life diagnosis, combined with talking therapies.

Transpharmation’s Scientific Liaison Dr John Huxter said: “We have an opportunity here to align methodology across the clinical and preclinical work. There have been some high-profile clinical trial failures in recent years, using treatments which nevertheless showed promise pre-clinically. In many cases this is not because one result was right and the other wrong, but because the studies were not run in comparable ways. Working in a joined-up fashion allows you to head off those problems in advance. For example, we can agree on desired tissue exposure, dosing regimen, the route of administration, and the kind of endpoints that we use. Then we have a much better chance of translating pre-clinical study success into positive outcomes for patients.”

Clerkenwell Health CSO Henry Fisher said: “This partnership offers up a rare opportunity to deliver some truly joined up thinking in terms of pre-clinical and clinical research. Given the potential that psilocybin and related psychedelic compounds present as clinical tools across a range of indications, this is a hugely exciting development for advancing the clinical development process. This partnership will greatly assist companies in this space with accelerating their goal of market approval.”

The partnership further solidifies the UK as a research hub where life sciences companies provide services to drug developers and aligns with the government’s strategy in accelerating the delivery of innovation to patients.

Transpharmation has a wealth of trusted and compelling assays and is open for further collaboration with other CROs and clinical CROs. https://www.transpharmation.co.uk/


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