Sensorium Therapeutics closes $30M Series A to transform mental health treatment with nature-inspired psychoactive drugs

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Human-first Biodynamic Discovery Platform™ uses cutting-edge chemistry, neuroscience and machine learning to advance plant and mushroom-inspired therapies to address the global crisis

The company’s scientific founders include leading experts in neuroscience, chemistry and psychiatry

Funding led by Santé Ventures, Route 66 Ventures and CU Healthcare Innovation Fund

BOSTON, November 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Sensorium Therapeutics (Sensorium), a biotechnology company leveraging medicinal chemistry, neuroscience and machine learning to develop nature-inspired psychoactive drugs for mental health, today announced the closing of a $30 million Series A funding to advance its seed asset, SENS-01, and Biodynamic Discovery Platform™ (BDP), a drug discovery engine that rapidly identifies, synthesizes and improves molecules targeted as novel therapies. The round was led by Santé Ventures, a healthcare and life sciences investment firm with approximately $1 billion in capital under management, with participation from Route 66 Ventures, CU Healthcare Innovation Fund, WPSS.bio, Palo Santo, Iter Investments, Ocama Partners and re.Mind Capital.

“To address this devastating mental health crisis, we urgently need to expand the universe of safe and effective treatments by leveraging knowledge about what has worked in human populations for centuries,” said Dick Simon, Managing Director and Co-founder of Sensorium. “The complexity of the challenge requires clinical, scientific and technical expertise. Sensorium’s multidisciplinary team embodies a wealth of industry and academic experience with a passion and track record of impact.”

With expert scientific co-founders in psychiatry, chemistry and neuroscience at leading institutions, Sensorium seeks to overcome historical challenges in central nervous system drug development by tapping into the vast chemical space of psychoactive molecules to develop new drugs that respond to the global crisis. Beginning with evidence of efficacy and safety based on long-term intensive human use, the BDP feeds data outputs from its natural product library and high-throughput characterization into proprietary machine learning algorithms. By prioritizing mechanisms with established efficacy in the human brain, the platform enables Sensorium to deliver modern medicines faster and with improved efficacy and tolerability, fewer side effects, and reduced addiction potential.

The company’s initial asset, SENS-01, shows promise in providing rapid therapeutic effect for the treatment of anxiety. Sensorium is developing SENS-01 as a fast-acting, well-tolerated therapeutic for patients with anxiety and depression and plans to begin IND-enabled studies in 2023 and enter the clinic in early 2024.

“Sensorium’s transformational technology and experienced research team have the potential to revolutionize neuropsychiatric therapy by developing several new classes of novel therapies,” said Kevin Lalande, Founding Managing Director of Santé Ventures. “We are thrilled to support the Sensorium team in their mission to forge these new treatment pathways and provide new medicines to the many patients facing urgent mental health needs.”

Sensorium’s scientific co-founders added:

  • “By better understanding the impact of new psychoactive molecules on the brain, we are unlocking critical information to deliver transformative medicines to patients for whom existing treatments fall short and who desperately await innovation,” said dr. Jerry RosenbaumCo-founder of Sensorium, Chief Psychiatrist Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH); Director, Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics; and Stanley Cobb professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
  • “Our predictive knowledge network on psychoactive molecules identifies structure-activity relationships, acting as a springboard for the development of new drugs with optimized therapeutic benefit. Nature provided the model, and we know we can do better,” said Jacob HookerPh.D., Co-founder of Sensorium, Scientific Director of the Lurie Center for Autism at MGH, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar, and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.
  • “Humans have been consuming psychoactive molecules for centuries, but how they work remains a challenge to understand. Our approach combines deep knowledge of the chemical space with a platform that interrogates drug function on neuronal plasticity and other indicators to generate potential drug candidates,” said Stephen HagartyPh.D., Co-founder of Sensorium, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical SchoolMGH Associate Neuroscientist and Director of the MGH Chemical Neurobiology Laboratory.

The funding will support the advancement of Sensorium’s platform and initial program and also help ensure the growth of the company’s multidisciplinary team of experts passionate about improving mental health.

About Sensorium Therapeutics

Founded by world-class researchers, clinicians and drug developers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Sensorium Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that leverages advanced chemistry, neuroscience and machine learning to develop nature-inspired psychoactive drugs for mental health. Beginning with evidence of efficacy and safety based on long-term intensive human use of plants and fungi, Sensorium’s breakthrough biodynamic discovery platform rapidly identifies, replicates, adapts and improves targeted molecules and elevates their utility by as modern medicines that can deliver transformational benefits to sufferers around the world. Visit sensorium.bio to find out more.

SOURCE Sensorium Therapeutic

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