Initiative includes leading ethnobotanists and will leverage Jaguar's plant-based medicines expertise and proprietary library of 2,300 medicinal plants
Jaguar and its subsidiary Napo Pharmaceuticals uniquely suited to lead this effort based on successful development and commercialization of Napo's Mytesi® (crofelemer), the first-and-only oral plant-based prescription medicine to receive FDA approval under FDA Botanical Guidance
SAN FRANCISCO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 3, 2020 / Jaguar Health, Inc. (NASDAQ:JAGX) announced today the launch of its mental health Entheogen Therapeutics Initiative (ETI) that aims to discover and develop groundbreaking, novel, natural medicines derived from psychoactive plants for treatment of mood disorders, neuro-degenerative diseases, addiction, and other mental health disorders. The initiative will initially focus on plants from the company's proprietary library of 2,300 plants, with the objective of identifying plants that may have the potential to treat mood disorders, including depression, which affects more than 264 million people of all ages around the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Though the market for antidepressants is expected to reach $19 billion by 2023 and is dominated by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, an estimated 30 percent of patients are not effectively treated with SSRIs.
Jaguar is in the process of engaging medicinal tropical scientific strategy team advisors, including ethnobotanists, physicians, pharmacologists, chemists, and experts in neuropharmacology, from around the world and intends to seek corporate partnerships with companies devoted to bringing novel, plant-based psychoactive therapies to patients with mental health conditions in a safe and effective manner, and in a manner that benefits Indigenous peoples and local communities.
"Jaguar is excited to be leading this effort to potentially uncover a pipeline of novel psychoactive plant-based compounds from our library and engaging with our advisors and potential corporate partners to develop these compounds into possible medical breakthroughs," said Lisa Conte, Jaguar's president and CEO. "Clinical research has shown that psychoactive plant-based compounds provide novel mechanisms to potentially provide meaningful healing benefit - not just disease modification, as is the case with SSRIs - to patients suffering from a variety of mental health conditions."
"While we remain steadfastly focused on the commercial success of Mytesi and on the development of crofelemer follow-on indications in the area of GI health, we believe the same competencies and multi-disciplinary scientific strategy that led to the development of crofelemer will support collaborative efforts with potential partners to discover and develop novel first-in-class prescription medicines derived from psychoactive plants," Conte said.
Dr. Elaine Elisabetsky, a professor in the pharmacology and biochemistry departments of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil who was a member of the original scientific strategy team that contributed to the development of Jaguar's plant library, has joined the Entheogen Therapeutics Initiative as a scientific strategy advisor. Dr. Elisabetsky is a highly regarded ethnopharmacologist and the co-author of the book Medicinal Resources of the Tropical Forest.
"I am very delighted to continue this dynamic interdisciplinary research process to discover novel therapies for managing mental health conditions from psychoactive plants that have been utilized by traditional healers for centuries. My field research collaborations in the past have yielded exciting new applications for compounds from a plant used by traditional healers in Nigeria, such as alstonine, which has already demonstrated a potential novel mechanism of action for the treatment of difficult to manage conditions such as schizophrenia. The ability to collaborate with colleagues to analyze the rich collection of data from Jaguar's library of 2,300 plants - which may include other promising leads for new treatments for a variety of neurological conditions - is an exciting fit to my ongoing scientific focus as an ethnopharmacologist,"said Dr. Elisabetsky.