E VistaGen Therapeutics: Interesting Prospects

VistaGen Therapeutics (VTGN) is a biotechnology company focused on improving treatments for patients with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). The company is taking a different approach from all other therapies that exist today. Current therapies for MDD are standard antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics. VistaGen is taking a different route with its oral drug AV-101. It doesn’t even have to steer far away in terms of clinical development. That’s because the company is using a modified version of an FDA approved drug known as Ketamine. More about Ketamine will be explained below. Just know that if the current clinical trials are successful, VistaGen can move on to other indications as well.

Ketamine and AV-101

There are a lot of patients who have to cycle through many antidepressants before they find the right one. Think about that for a second. These patients with MDD are in serious need of medication to help them move on with their daily lives. Having to try out multiple treatments until one works is just terrible for these patients. Even then, patients go through first-line, second-line, and third-line of treatments. Sometimes they have to take these antidepressant treatments together with atypical antipsychotics. The problem now is that many patients who just take monotherapy antidepressants go through drug resistance (when patients are immune to the drug in question or it doesn’t work for them at all).

Ketamine was approved by the FDA back in the 1970s for anesthesia. Recent studies at Yale and the National Institute of Mental Health showed that ketamine relieved treatment-resistant MDD in 71% of patients within 24 hours. However, it it not suitable for long-term use, and also requires intravenous administration. The studies catalyzed interest in development of new antidepressants that are fundamentally different from current therapies.

VistaGen's drug AV-101 is similar to ketamine in targeting NMDA and AMPA receptors in the brain. The mechanism of action of ketamine works first by entering the blood brain barrier. It targets the NMDA glutamate receptor of the brain, which then allows for the release of AMPA receptors. That’s when key connection by neurons are improved, thus improving clinical outcome. In essence, it acts through the AMPA dependent pathway. That ends up generating antidepressant effects. AV-101 intends to be safer by avoiding some of the negatives of ketamine (by inhibiting rather than blocking the NMDA receptor) and to be available in oral form.

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Disclosure: This article is part of a new “UnderCovered” series of exclusive articles featuring companies with limited coverage. Authors are compensated by TalkMarkets for their time, and ...

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Paul B 3 years ago Member's comment

When I say I was in a different place that was when the drug was intravenous but until Wednesday very good. Regards Paul

Ayelet Wolf 3 years ago Member's comment

Thanks for sharing but I'm not clear what your point is Paul.

Paul B 3 years ago Member's comment

I suffer from MDD and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital.There are two hospitals in the UK and they are testing ketamine. One is Oxford and the other One is Northampton.The Dr ask me if I would be willing to take part in the test and when you suffered with depression for many years you would do anything to get out of the big black cloud that makes life unbearable.it was amazing it was like you were in a different place,so relaxing.The trials were every Friday you would document everyday on your computer.For me it was very effective but I noted it would last until Wednesday obviously this is a trial and as time when by they would now what dose you would require.But unfortunately I was taken of the test because I was on a very strong opioid and obviously they were testing a new drug and could not take any chances as it did not have a license. Regards Paul

Derek Snyder 3 years ago Member's comment

Your argument for acquisition sounds convincing, but I wonder if there have been any such overtures. Know if that's the case? Which companies would be the most likely to target #Vistagen? $VTGN.

David M. Green 3 years ago Member's comment

Looks promising. Sounds like $VTGN should be getting more love from investors.

Bill Johnson 3 years ago Member's comment

Definitely sounds like some interesting prospects indeed! $VTGN

Alexis Renault 3 years ago Member's comment

Thanks Terry Chrisomalis, can you explain what a "first-line, second-line, and third-line of treatment" is?

Terry Chrisomalis 3 years ago Author's comment

That is taking one SSRI drug for 4-8 weeks then it not working, then taking another SSRI drug for 4-8 weeks and it not working etc. Then eventually following up with adding atypical antipsychotics

Alexis Renault 3 years ago Member's comment

Thanks Terry! Will take a closer look at $VTGN.