New therapy to help addicts put memories of meth use behind them

The pitch for TapHeaven might sound a little familiar. Co-founder and CEO Chris Hoyt said his technology delivers truly automated ad-buying.

What makes TapHeaven more than just another ad startup that talks a big game about its technology? Well, it says it’s actually delivering big results with its first dozen pilot partners — many reviews them, Hoyt said, have seen their user acquisition costs fall by 50 percent.

He added that some of those advertisers have already switched to using TapHeaven exclusively; dropping their other demand-side platforms (those are the ad-buying platforms that allow them to work with multiple ad exchanges and data providers).

The technology out there was very weak,” he said. “There’s so much wasted ad spend through the human-based processes that are rampant in our industry.”

TapHeaven is backed by startup studio ventureLab and it’s officially launching its Sonar Intelligence product today.

Given a lack of prior experience in advertising, Hoyt and his co-founders Jeremy Jones and Brian Krebs (pictured above) might not be the most obvious candidates to build a serious ad-tech company, but Hoyt pointed to Krebs’ background in enterprise technology, and he said that they developed TapHeaven by working closely with one of the top companies in mobile gaming. (Krebs said he can’t disclose the name of that company or of TapHeaven’s other advertisers.)

“Having that customer guide you — they’re using our competitors, they know what the weaknesses are and they know what the technology is capable of,” he said.

He added that the big request was to directly connect the advertiser’s performance data to TapHeaven’s algorithms, so the ad-buying is guided by an accurate measure of a

customer’s value. More broadly, Hoyt said TapHeaven isn’t just “a black box” for advertisers, but instead allows them to add their own guidelines to the process.

Through a new study, the same researchers have now identified an approach they say can selectively target actin in the brain of animals, without posing a danger to the rest of the body. It involves a molecular motor called nonmuscle myosin II (NMII) that supports memory formation. The team found by using a compound called blebbistatin, which inhibits NMII, they were able to affect the long-term storage of drug-associated memories.

More specifically, the team found that treating meth-addicted animals with a single injection of blebbistatin, meth-associated memories were disrupted and it blocked relapse for at least 30 days. Importantly, the drug was found to exclusively affect drug-associated memories and still left the animals capable of forming new ones.

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