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BrainCells Inc. completes antidepressant drug study

Fred "Rusty" Gage, Salk Institute, San Diego Biotechnology Connection

BrainCells Inc. is commercializing technologies devised by Fred “Rusty” Gage, a distinguished scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and other scientists. Photo: Salk Institute

The drug Ketamine is a powerful antidepressant in patients with treatment-resistant major depression (TRD), but the side effects and abuse potential of Ketamine have spurred an antidepressant drug study for a safer alternative.

BrainCells Inc., a San Diego biotechnology company, is developing a promising Ketamine alternative called BCI-838 and the company announced on February 29, 2012 that the Phase 1 single ascending dose (SAD) study of BCI-838 was successfully completed.

Antidepressant drug study

The company said in a news release that single oral doses of BCI-838 up to 900 mg were administered and the drug was well tolerated in evaluations of its safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and food effect in healthy males. There were no serious adverse events reported, and mild adverse events were transient and resolved without additional secondary consequences of the drug.

BrainCells Inc. merged in 2001 with NeuroGenix, a start-up founded by Dr. Eric Kandel, a biochemistry professor at Columbia University who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2000. BrainCells combines technologies devised by Kandel and Fred “Rusty” Gage, a distinguished scientist at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.


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