Sensorium closes $30M deal to advance drug discovery engine

November 9, 2022 - 3 minutes
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Sensorium Therapeutics, announced the closing of a $30 million series a financing to advance its initial asset, SENS-01, and Biodynamic Discovery Platform (BDP).

The platform is a drug discovery engine that rapidly identifies, synthesizes, and enhances targeted molecules as therapeutics. The round was led by Santé Ventures, a specialized 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.

Dick Simon, chief executive officer and co-founder of Sensorium, said: “To address this devastating mental health crisis, we urgently need to broaden the universe of safe and effective treatments by leveraging knowledge about what has worked in human populations for centuries.

Sensorium closes deal

“The complexity of the challenge requires clinical, scientific, and technical expertise.  Sensorium’s multi-disciplinary team embodies a wealth of industry and academic experience with a passion and track record for impact.”

US-based Sensorium says that with scientific co-founders who are experts in psychiatry, chemistry and neuroscience at leading institutions, it seeks to overcome historical challenges in central nervous system drug development by tapping into the vast chemical space of psychoactive molecules to develop novel medicines that address the global crisis.

Beginning with evidence of efficacy and safety based on extensive long-term human use, the company explained that BDP feeds data outputs from its natural product library and high-throughput characterization into proprietary machine learning algorithms.

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Advancing drug discovery platform

It says that by prioritizing mechanisms with established efficacy in human brains, the platform enables Sensorium to deliver modern medicines faster and with improved efficacy and tolerability, fewer side effects, and decreased potential for dependence.

The company’s initial asset SENS-01, shows promise to deliver swift therapeutic effect for treating anxiety. Sensorium is developing SENS-01 as a rapid-acting and well-tolerated therapeutic for patients with anxiety and depression and expects to begin IND-enabling studies in 2023 and enter the clinic by early 2024.

Kevin Lalande, founding managing director of Santé Ventures, said: “Sensorium’s transformational technology and experienced research team has the potential to revolutionize neuropsychiatric therapy by developing multiple new classes of novel therapeutics.

Supporting the Sensorium team

“We are thrilled to support the Sensorium team on their mission to forge these new treatment pathways and deliver new medicines to the many patients struggling with urgent mental health needs.”

“By better understanding how novel psychoactive molecules impact the brain, we’re unlocking critical insights to deliver transformative medicines for patients for whom existing treatments fall short and who are desperately awaiting innovation,” said Jerry Rosenbaum, Sensorium co-founder.

Fellow co-founder, Jacob Hooker, said the company’s predictive knowledge network of psychoactive molecules identifies structure-activity relationships. He added: “These act as a springboard for developing novel medicines with optimized therapeutic benefit. Nature has provided the template, and we know we can do it better.”

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Growth of Sensorium’s team

Stephen Haggarty concluded, said: “Humans have consumed psychoactive molecules for centuries, yet how they function has remained a challenge to understand.

“Our approach marries deep knowledge of the chemical space with a platform that interrogates drug function on neuronal plasticity and other indicators to generate potential drug candidates.”

The financing will support advancement of Sensorium’s platform and initial program and will also help secure growth of the company’s multi-disciplinary team of experts with a passion for improving mental health.

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