Psylo, a psychedelic-inspired biotechnology company has announced a joint project with Australia’s national science agency CSIRO. CSIRO will introduce Psylo’s novel compounds to neuronal cell cultures to assess their potential to improve brain function.
Using artificial intelligence, Psylo has developed a pipeline of next-generation psychedelic drugs designed to treat a variety of mental illnesses. Measuring neuroplasticity, or the “rewiring” of neural networks in the brain, is critical in developing treatments for a broad range of mental illnesses characterised by detrimental structural changes to said networks.
According to Professor Danny Hoyer, Psylo’s Head of Molecular Pharmacology, “Major depression is characterised by cortical neuron atrophy, which includes neurite retraction, dendritic spine loss, and decreased synaptic density. We are optimistic Psylo’s next-generation drugs’ effects on cortical neuronal structure will be predictive of the drugs’ rapid and lasting effects in major depression, PTSD and other neuropsychiatric diseases, in contrast to the slowly developing and short-lasting effects produced by classical antidepressants, such as SSRIs.”
CSIRO scientists are getting work underway on establishing and validating the assay, and expect the project will take approximately six months to complete. “By running Psylo’s compounds through a cortical neuron screen we will be able to measure dendritic arbor complexity at various timepoints from exposure,” said Dr Ben Cao, Senior Research Scientist and Team Leader at CSIRO.
“By comparing those results with those of compounds known to elicit neuroplastic effects, CSIRO can provide unique insight into the biological effect these compounds are likely to have on the brain.”
CSIRO has the facilities, licences and expertise to undertake this research project with psychedelics. The project was made possible by CSIRO Kick-Start, an initiative that provides funding and support for innovative Australian start-ups and small businesses to access CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.
The Kick-Start project marks a critical stage in the progression of Psylo’s research programme, and will prove instrumental in substantiating a number of provisional patent applications the company has filed.
“Our medicinal chemistry team is driven by a desire to design molecules that will positively impact patients who desperately need new treatment options for depression and other serious mental illnesses,” said Dr Samuel Banister, CSO of Psylo. “This experiment provides a key gating point for translating our R&D from the bench to the bedside.”
“This is a monumental step in progressing our drug-development pipeline,” said Josh Ismin, Psylo’s CEO. “We’re incredibly lucky to have access to such cutting edge capability at our fingertips in Australia, and very excited to be working with CSIRO to progress this incredibly important work.”
This media release was originally published by Psylo.