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Enveric Biosciences Announces Bioproduction Platform Using Novel Cane Toad Enzyme for Psychedelic-Inspired Drug Discovery

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Enveric Biosciences, a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of novel small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of anxiety, depression, and addiction disorders, announced today new research detailing the first-ever isolation of a novel indolethylamine N-methyltransferase from cane toad (Rhinella marina) and the successful development of a bioproduction platform for the isolation and pharmacological screening of novel indolethylamines. A manuscript detailing the research has been submitted for peer-reviewed publication and is currently accessible via the following open access platform

As described in the paper, titled, “Bioproduction platform using a novel cane toad (Rhinella marina) N-methyltransferase for psychedelic-inspired drug discovery,” researchers at the University of Calgary, led by Peter Facchini, Ph.D., professor and Chief Innovation Officer at Enveric, successfully isolated a novel indolethylamine N-methyltransferase – RmNMT – from cane toads, representing the first alkaloid biosynthetic gene and cognate enzyme isolated from toad. Unlike functionally similar mammalian and fungal enzymes, the researchers determined that the efficiency and promiscuity of RmNMT made it suitable for the bioproduction of new-to-nature indolethylamine derivatives. From this discovery, the researchers have established an innovative platform for the bio-based production, purification, and screening of novel indolethylamine-type drug candidates with potential use in psychiatric medicine. Subsequent purification and screening experiments involving RmNMT revealed important observations on candidate stability, receptor activity, and ability to induce hallucination in mice.

“Developing psychedelic-inspired, novel drug compounds at scale requires bioproduction platforms as an alternative to traditional chemical synthesis. Unfortunately, most bioproduction platforms fail to achieve the throughput, scale and versatility of synthetic chemistry due, in great part, to a lack of efficient and promiscuous catalysts,” stated Dr. Facchini. “This manuscript describes not only the production of novel, psychedelic-inspired compounds using our newly discovered toad NMT, but also illustrates how these compounds can be rapidly purified and subjected to in vitro and in vivo pharmacological screening.”

“Enveric’s mission is to bring ‘science to psychedelics’ to identify and develop novel compounds for the treatment of mental health conditions that are underserved by current therapeutic options,” stated Joseph Tucker, Ph.D. Director and CEO, Enveric Biosciences. “To this end, we expect to soon initiate a first-in-human clinical trial of our lead product – EB-373 – for the treatment of anxiety disorders, while simultaneously advancing our EVM301 program to enable the development of next-generation compounds that are optimized with psychoactive properties but without the hallucinatory effect. The discovery of RmNMT and the advancement of a differentiated bioproduction platform, as described in the manuscript, exemplifies Enveric’s ability to leverage unique approaches to create new molecules with novel and potentially beneficial pharmacology for the treatment of mental health disorders.”



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