FDA’s ‘Breakthrough’ Nod to MM120, An LSD-Derivative, for Anxiety Relief


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LOS ANGELES- In a significant development within the field of psychedelic therapy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized the LSD-analog substance MM120, also known as lysergide d-tartrate, with a ‘breakthrough therapy’ designation for its potential in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This status is aimed at accelerating the development and review process for drugs that demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies for conditions with considerable unmet medical needs.

MM120, developed by Mind Medicine Inc. (MindMed), joins a growing list of psychedelic substances, including MDMA, esketamine, and psilocybin, that have garnered attention for their transformative potential in mental health treatment. Described as a tartrate salt form of lysergide, MM120 has been designed to overcome the manufacturing challenges associated with LSD, such as its rapid degradation in light and water. MindMed’s chief medical officer highlighted the company’s success in producing a highly pure, shelf-stable version of the drug that meets pharmaceutical industry standards.

The endorsement comes on the heels of promising outcomes from a Phase 2b study demonstrating MM120’s efficacy in managing GAD symptoms. MindMed has announced plans for an end-of-Phase 2 discussion with the FDA in the first half of 2024, with a Phase 3 clinical trial expected to commence later in the year. The Phase 2b study’s critical secondary endpoint was met, showing statistically significant sustained effectiveness of MM120 up to week 12.

Generalized anxiety disorder manifests through persistent, excessive worry about various aspects of daily life, often disproportionate to the actual likelihood or impact of anticipated events. Symptoms include restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping, which can significantly impair an individual’s ability to function and reduce their quality of life. The FDA’s recognition of MM120 as a breakthrough therapy underscores the urgent need for innovative treatments that address these symptoms effectively.

The recent study involved 198 participants who received a single oral dose of MM120 or a placebo. Participants were assessed for severe symptoms of GAD, with a focus on changes in their Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) scores over four weeks. Remarkably, 65% of participants showed a clinical response, with 48% achieving clinical remission from their anxiety disorder after treatment. These results point to MM120’s potential to provide rapid and sustained relief from anxiety without the need for ongoing therapy sessions.

MindMed’s approach, which forgoes the integration of talk therapy commonly associated with psychedelic-assisted treatment, could offer a more accessible treatment option for patients. This aspect is particularly relevant as traditional anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, often lead to physical dependence and challenging withdrawal experiences. The development of MM120 and other psychedelic therapies represents a much-needed alternative for individuals struggling with anxiety, promising a future where effective, non-habit-forming treatments are readily available.

As MindMed prepares for the next phase of clinical trials, the medical community and patients alike await further evidence of MM120’s efficacy and safety in treating GAD. The FDA’s ‘breakthrough therapy’ designation for MM120 marks a critical step forward in recognizing the potential of psychedelic substances in addressing complex mental health conditions, paving the way for innovative treatments that could transform the landscape of psychiatric care.


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