The Devon Partnership NHS Trust and the University of Exeter have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with biotechnology company, Awakn Life Sciences.
Together these groups will establish an evidential framework for the use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as an alternative treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and treatment resistant depression within the NHS.
According to EMP magazine, this agreement will allow the groups to form a framework and strategic relationship to determine when the NHS will be ready to deploy ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. The partnership will also ascertain how to fastrack on-label use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to treat AUD at scale.
At the crux of the MOU is the progression of Awakn’s phase II KARE (Ketamine for reduction of Alcohol Relapse) study forward into a phase III trial in the UK. Awkn hopes that the results from this trial will show higher efficacy in treating AUD than other currently available treatments. Testing the relative effectiveness of digital and remote delivery of ketamine therapy is one of the priorities for the phase III trial.
Awakn’s CEO Anthony Tennyson emphasized that this partnership is a crucial milestone in addressing mental health issues and a significant move towards delivery of novel treatments to patients globally. Tobit Emmens, associate director of Research and Development at NHS Trust, agreed that the collaboration is set to catalyse the development and delivery of psychedelic therapies for addiction and depression, to improve treatment options for those in need.
This agreement is emblematic of a cultural shift towards wider acceptance of psychedelics as medicine and could see ketamine-assisted therapies becoming mainstream in clinical settings.
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