Karuna receives Wellcome Trust Translation Fund Award of US$3.84m


To advance treatment for schizophrenia

Karuna Pharmaceuticals, a Boston, MA, US-based clinical stage drug developer and an operating company of PureTech Health, has received a Translation Fund Award from the Wellcome Trust of up to US$3.84m.

The funding will be used to develop KarXT, a potentially innovative therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia.

PureTech said it is also investing a further $1.5m in the company and may pay up to an additional $17.5m pending the results of the next clinical trial.

'Few safe and effective new mechanisms for therapy of schizophrenia have emerged over the last half-century, and we believe that Karuna’s novel approach has the potential to change the treatment paradigm in the field,' said Dr Ben Shapiro, Non-Executive Director of Karuna and PureTech and formerly Executive Vice President of Merck Research Laboratories.

KarXT selectively targets the muscarinic system and is composed of xanomeline, which has demonstrated efficacy in reducing psychosis and improving cognition in Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. It also contains trospium chloride which could potentially reduce negative side effects of xanomeline.

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Karuna has a worldwide exclusive licence for xanomeline and plans to conduct a safety proof of concept study in 2016 to demonstrate that trospium chloride can improve xanomeline’s tolerability profile, followed by a Phase II study of KarXT.