Quintiles recruiting for AstraZeneca's novel depression drug

AstraZeneca ($AZN) is reaching out to Quintiles as it gathers data on AZD6765, part of a newfangled class of depression drugs that promises to beat what's on the market.

Quintiles is using its Digital Patient Unit to recruit participants for a multicenter trial, in addition to "other clinical services," Quintiles' Phil Bridges said in an email to FierceCRO. And that's as much as they're saying--rarely can Quintiles comment publicly on its projects, and the CRO had to get approval from AZ to disclose this much, Bridges said.

As CBS News reports, AZ's drug has thus far heartened doctors and depression sufferers with its early results. The current crop of approved depression drugs target serotonin, looking to correct imbalances in brain function, but the chemical is found in just 5% of brain cells, according to CBS, weakening the drugs' punch and prolonging the treatment process.

AZD6765 and its ilk, however, go after glutamate, a similar chemical found in 80% of brain cells, and researchers believe the new drugs are faster and more effective than what's available.

The glutamate-targeting drug works quite a bit like ketamine, and, in a trial conducted by NIH, AZ's molecule was found to relieve symptoms of depression at a similar rate to ketamine, but with far fewer of the untoward side effects the oft-abused drug brings along. Patients on AZD6765 reported just minor dizziness and nausea, not much different from those on a placebo, according to NIH.

In the meantime, Quintiles is using its digital know-how to create an online community of patients looking to participate in the trial, recruiting them through MajorDepressionStudy.com.

- here's the CBS News story
- read more on the NIH study

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