By Faith Ashmore, Benzinga
Treatment-resistant depression, also referred to as TRD, is a subset of depression that poses significant challenges for clinicians, patients and those closest to patients. It is characterized by persistent symptoms of depression that do not respond adequately to at least two different standard antidepressant treatments. This debilitating condition often leaves individuals grappling with feelings of despair, hopelessness and a diminished quality of life.
Unlike some forms of depression that may improve with pharmacological interventions or talk therapies, TRD tends to persist, leading to a multitude of negative consequences. The unyielding nature of this condition can contribute to increased rates of disability, higher suicide risk and significant financial burden due to the need for repeated treatments. Psilocybin treatment is emerging as a potentially effective approach to the treatment of TRD.
Although further research is still needed to establish its efficacy and safety, initial findings are promising. While there are a number of companies developing psilocybin treatments, Compass Pathways (NASDAQ: CMPS) is setting itself apart from its contemporaries with its phase 3 program in TRD.
The company’s innovative approach has received FDA Breakthrough Therapy designation in the U.S. and Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway designation in the U.K. for their investigational COMP360 psilocybin. Moreover, in late 2021, Compass Pathways announced the completion of a randomized, controlled double-blind phase 2b study of COMP360 psilocybin treatment involving 233 patients with TRD in 22 sites across Europe and North America.
In August of 2022, Compass Pathways brought on Kabir Nath as CEO to help navigate its transition from a start-up to an established phase 3 biopharma company. Nath is a seasoned healthcare executive with over two decades of experience leading global pharmaceutical companies. He has held several leadership positions at multinational corporations, including Bristol Meyers Squibb (NYSE: BMS), GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) and Otsuka Pharmaceutical (OTCMKTS: OTSKY).
Nath has a track record of success in developing new products and creating commercial strategies to make medicines available to patients on a global scale. He is skilled in identifying unmet patient needs and working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop targeted and effective treatment options. He also has considerable experience in psychiatric drug development.
Under Nath’s leadership, Compass Pathways has made significant progress in advancing the development of its investigational drug, COMP360 psilocybin. One notable accomplishment was the initiation of their phase 3 clinical trials, which are pivotal in determining the safety and efficacy of the treatment. These trials consist of two key studies: Pivotal Trial 1 (COMP005) and Pivotal Trial 2 (COMP006).
COMP005 is studying a single dose (25mg) of COMP360 psilocybin as monotherapy, comparing it with a placebo. The aim of this trial is to replicate the positive treatment response observed in the company’s phase 2b study, which included 233 patients with treatment-resistant depression.
COMP006 is a fixed repeat dose monotherapy study that examines the effects of three different dose arms: 25mg, 10mg and 1mg. The objective of this trial is to investigate whether a second dose can enhance the number of responders and further improve the response observed in the phase 2b study. Additionally, this trial explores the potential for a meaningful treatment response from the repeat administration of COMP360 10mg.
Both pivotal trials have the change from baseline in MADRS (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale) total score at week six as their primary endpoint. This measure allows researchers to evaluate the effectiveness of COMP360 psilocybin in reducing depressive symptoms compared to baseline.
In addition to driving the company forward into phase 3, Nath has supported the development of the company’s digital platforms that accompany its psilocybin treatment, has led a successful private placement fundraising that extends the company’s runway into late 2025, and claims to have one of the most talented and experienced leadership team among psychedelic companies in the space. Nath's global experience in the pharmaceutical industry and his expertise in developing and commercializing treatments for unmet needs uniquely position him to lead Compass Pathways toward the successful development and commercialization of their investigational drug COMP360 psilocybin, subject to FDA approval.
Company BioCOMPASS Pathways plc (Nasdaq: CMPS) is a mental health care company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health. Our focus is on improving the lives of those who are suffering with mental health challenges and who are not helped by current treatments. We are pioneering the development of a new model of psilocybin therapy, in which our proprietary formulation of synthetic psilocybin, COMP360, is administered in conjunction with psychological support. COMP360 has been designated a Breakthrough Therapy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has received Innovative Licensing and Access Pathway (ILAP) designation in the UK for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). We have commenced a phase 3 clinical program of COMP 360 psilocybin therapy in TRD, the largest randomised, controlled, double-blind psilocybin therapy clinical program ever conducted. Previously, we completed a phase 2b study with top line data showing a statistically significant (p<0.001) and clinically relevant improvement in depressive symptom severity after three weeks for patients who received a single high dose of COMP360 psilocybin with psychological support. We are also conducting phase 2 clinical studies of COMP360 psilocybin therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anorexia nervosa. COMPASS is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in New York and San Francisco in the United States. Our vision is a world of mental wellbeing.
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