Human-first Biodynamic Discovery Platform™ employs cutting-edge chemistry, neuroscience, and machine learning to advance plant- and fungi-inspired therapeutics to address global crisis
Company’s scientific founders include leading experts in neuroscience, chemistry, and psychiatry
Financing led by Santé Ventures, Route 66 Ventures, and CU Healthcare Innovation Fund
BOSTON, Nov. 8, 2022 — Sensorium Therapeutics (Sensorium), a biotechnology company leveraging medicinal chemistry, neuroscience, and machine learning to develop nature-inspired psychoactive medicines for mental health, today announced the closing of a $30 million Series A financing to advance its initial asset, SENS-01, and Biodynamic Discovery Platform™ (BDP), a drug discovery engine that rapidly identifies, synthesizes, and enhances targeted molecules as novel 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.
“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,” said Dick Simon, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of Sensorium. “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.”
With scientific co-founders who are experts in psychiatry, chemistry and neuroscience at leading institutions, Sensorium 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 BDP feeds data outputs from its natural product library and high-throughput characterization into proprietary machine learning algorithms. 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.
“Sensorium’s transformational technology and experienced research team has the potential to revolutionize neuropsychiatric therapy by developing multiple new classes of novel therapeutics,” said Kevin Lalande, Founding Managing Director of Santé Ventures. “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.”
Sensorium’s Scientific Co-founders added:
- “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 Dr. Jerry Rosenbaum, Sensorium Co-founder, Psychiatrist-in-Chief Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH); Director, Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics; and Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
- “Our predictive knowledge network of psychoactive molecules identifies structure-activity relationships, acting as a springboard for developing novel medicines with optimized therapeutic benefit. Nature has provided the template, and we know we can do it better,” said Jacob Hooker, Ph.D., Sensorium Co-founder, Scientific Director of the Lurie Center for Autism at MGH, Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport MGH Research Scholar, and Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School.
- “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,” said Stephen Haggarty, Ph.D., Sensorium Co-founder, Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Associate Neuroscientist at MGH, and Director of the MGH Chemical Neurobiology Laboratory.
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.
About Sensorium Therapeutics
Founded by world-class researchers, clinicians, and drug developers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Sensorium Therapeutics is biotechnology company leveraging cutting-edge chemistry, neuroscience, and machine learning to develop nature-inspired psychoactive medicines for mental health. Beginning with evidence of efficacy and safety based on extensive long-term human use of plants and fungi, Sensorium’s groundbreaking Biodynamic Discovery Platform™ rapidly identifies, reproduces, adapts, and enhances targeted molecules and elevates their utility as modern medicines that can deliver transformational benefits to patients around the world. Visit sensorium.bio to learn more.