Terence Kelly appointed CEO of ATAI platform company Perception Neuroscience
(originally published on ATAI.life on February 7, 2020)
Today, ATAI Life Sciences, a global biotech platform that envisions an end to mental illnesses, announced the appointment of Dr. Terence Kelly as Chief Executive Officer of Perception Neuroscience, an ATAI biopharmaceutical company developing arketamine for treatment resistant depression.
“Terry brings almost 30 years of R&D experience to the platform,” said Florian Brand, CEO, ATAI Life Sciences. “His expertise as both a scientist and biotech executive are exactly what’s needed to help drive rapid innovation in mental healthcare.”
Before coming to Perception Neuroscience, Dr. Kelly held numerous clinical research positions at leading pharmaceutical companies, among them Boehringer Ingelheim and CoMentis. At CoMentis, where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and subsequently Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Kelly led research on therapeutics designed to treat cognitive disorders, particularly those responsible for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as cognitive impairment and associated clinical complications.
“Beyond the partially treatable positive symptoms like hallucination, patients with schizophrenia often struggle with unmanaged and more subtle social and cognitive challenges,” said Dr. Kelly. “To help people live fully, we need to address their mental health needs holistically. This is precisely why I’m so excited about Perception Neuroscience’s flagship product, arketamine.”
Terence Kelly recently joined ATAI CEO Florian Brand for a discussion about the economics of psychedelic investing at the Green Market Summit.
Arketamine, the R-enantiomer of ketamine, belongs to a new generation of glutamate receptor modulators with the potential for rapid acting antidepressant (RAAD) activity and anti-suicidal effects. These new RAAD drugs may be more efficacious than current FDA-approved anti-depressant therapies, which fail to produce a response in up to 60% of patients and often take weeks to achieve maximal effectiveness in the rest.
Moreover, in animal models of depression, the anti-depressant effects of arketamine appear to be greater in magnitude and longer-lasting than even esketamine, while producing no hyperlocomotion, deficits in prepulse inhibition, or maladaptive reward sensitivity, suggesting that arketamine could be more effective for depression while carrying lower abuse potential in humans.
“While we are fairly certain arketamine will be safe and well tolerated, the challenge will be in translating positive signals from preclinical models to humans,” added Dr. Kelly. “If we can do that, arketamine’s lack of perceptual effects may mean it can be administered on an outpatient basis, greatly improving our ability to reach the millions of people living with treatment resistant depression.”
Dr. Kelly is the latest addition to ATAI’s team of leaders and companies driving mental healthcare innovation. Other companies on the platform include COMPASS Pathways, developing psilocybin for treatment resistant depression, DemeRx, developing ibogaine for opioid use disorder, and GABA Therapeutics, developing deuterated etifoxine for generalized anxiety disorder.
Dr. Kelly earned his PhD in chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin in 1988, as well as an MBA in Finance and International Business from the NYU Stern School of Business.
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