Bionomics (ASX: BIO) has published data regarding its phase 2a trial into using its BNC210 drug to treat generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) patients.
The company’s paper Cholinergic Modulation of Disorder-Relevant Neural Circuits in Generalised Anxiety Disorder has now been published in the peer-reviewed journal Biological Psychiatry.
Bionomics’ BNC210 drug is a novel compound developed to treat anxiety and stressor-related disorders.
According to the company, functional magnetic resonance imaging has previously shown GAD is associated with hyperactivity and connectivity within the brain’s amygdala-anterior cingulate cortex networks.
It is believed that normalising this irregular brain activity can lead to successful treatment of GAD.
During the phase 2a trial, it was found BNC210 “significantly reduced” amygdala reactivity to fearful faces compared to a placebo.
It was found to produce a similar response to patients on lorazepam, which was used as a positive control in the study and is used to treat anxiety.
However, principal investigator Prof Allan Young said BNC210 was different to lorazepam because of its “unique safety profile” and lorazepam having the potential side effects of sedation and addiction.
“This study showed that acute doses of BNC210 performed equally as well as lorazepam on the reduction of amygdala hyperactivity and offers hope of new anxiety treatments being developed,” Prof Young, who is also director of the Centre of Affective Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, added.
Meanwhile, Prof Steven Williams, who is head of neuroimaging at King’s College, said the results support the case for further investigation of BNC210 in treating more anxiety and mood disorders as well as post traumatic stress disorder.
As a result, Bionomics executive chairman Dr Errol De Souza said the company is preparing for a phase 2b trial with BNC210 in PTSD patients.
“The demonstration of anti-anxiety potential of BNC210 in GAD patients supports our investigations into PTSD patients who experience anxiety as one of their four symptom clusters and exhibit similar functional magnetic resonance imaging changes in neural activity and connectivity as seen in GAD patients,” Dr De Souza added.