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MSRD Enters Collaboration Agreement with Rugen Holdings (Cayman) Limited to Develop Novel Treatment for Patients with Diverse Psychiatric Disorders

Activities will support the clinical development of Rugen’s potential first-in-class, orally administered drug candidate with initial clinical focus on treatment-resistant depression.


PRINCETON, N.J. – The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC (MSRD), a member of the global Otsuka family of pharmaceutical companies, announced today that it has entered an agreement with Rugen Holdings (Cayman) Limited, doing business as Rugen Therapeutics (Rugen), a pre-clinical biotechnology company focused on the development of novel treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The agreement will support the clinical development of therapeutics for patients living with a broad range of psychiatric disorders including treatment-resistant depression (TRD).


Under the terms of the agreement, MSRD and Rugen will collaborate to advance Rugen’s orally administered drug candidate through Phase 1b clinical trials with the opportunity to expand the collaboration after those studies.  The initial proof-of-concept studies focused on treatment for TRD.


Rugen’s proprietary technology stems from its novel research into the circuit mechanisms of psychiatric disorders, facilitated by genetic-based animal models. This research has translated into its innovative drug candidate, which has potentially broad application across multiple psychiatric indications.


“Treatment-resistant depression is a major challenge for many patients who have yet to find success with antidepressants and other therapies,” said Robert McQuade, Ph.D., president, McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development, LLC, and chief strategic officer, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. “Our collaboration with Rugen Therapeutics is part of our commitment to invest in breakthrough treatments that can potentially change the way this condition is treated in the future. We are excited by early pre-clinical indicators of this therapy and look forward to exploring its potential.”


“Rugen applies the latest research on the genetic and biological basis of psychiatric disease to the development of novel therapies for diseases with high unmet need, like treatment resistant depression,” said Stacie Weninger, PhD., chair of Rugen’s Board of Directors. “We are thrilled to partner with MSRD to advance the clinical development of this potential first-in-class treatment. In addition, our work has implicated CSTC circuitry dysfunction in several additional neuropsychiatric conditions that could benefit from this therapeutic.”



About Rugen Therapeutics

Rugen Holdings (Cayman) Limited, dba Rugen Therapeutics is a biotech company discovering and developing novel, first-in-class, small-molecule drugs with the potential to address multiple psychiatric indications. Rugen's founders include Guoping Feng, Ph.D., Poitras Chair Professor, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University. Rugen was founded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative (FBRI), which seeks to advance the discovery of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of neurological disorders by funding early-stage research in academia and the private sector.


Download the full Press Release below.

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