October 11, 2021 Programs 8:00 am

PsyProtix is taking a precision psychiatry approach to develop metabolomics-based biomarkers to stratify patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and other mental health indications. By identifying patient subsets with unique metabolic profiles, PsyProtix will test mechanism-based treatments with the goal of improving overall outcomes.

Depression is a heterogeneous disorder, with different causes, varying levels of severity, diverse symptom profiles, and disparate responses to treatment. Furthermore, of the 300 million people in the world living with depression, one third are resistant to current treatment options. 

A “one size fits all” treatment approach simply does not work across the spectrum of patients who live with depression. Extended periods of trial and error are not uncommon for many patients taking the traditional psychiatry route. Unfortunately, this can be both inefficient and troublesome.  

With PsyProtix, we aim to take a more reliable and tailored approach using precision psychiatry. PsyProtix is researching metabolomics-based biomarkers (measures of a biological state) that may potentially lead to insights regarding specific subgroups of people living with depression.  

The initial goal for PsyProtix will be to utilize metabolomics technology  to capture the net influences of diet exposome, gut microbiome, and the genome, on mental health. We believe this approach has the potential to help physicians better select the right treatment for the right person at the right time. 

Can biomarkers work in depression? 

Biomarkers have yet to see application in psychiatry, but they are vital in other fields, like oncology. In certain kinds of cancer, a patient’s tumor can be analyzed at the cellular and subcellular level, giving a tumor’s molecular fingerprint that can help guide treatment decisions for more targeted and lethal tumor destruction. 

PsyProtix’s metabolic approach will look for presence, absence, increase, or decrease of certain metabolites in a patient’s body. These biomarkers may be help explain a metabolic root cause of some forms of depression and may even identify a subset of people with TRD. 

The collaboration 

PsyProtix is precision psychiatry platform company of atai, which is focused on developing therapeutics for TRD and other mental health indications. atai launched PsyProtix as a joint venture with Chymia LLC, a Duke University biotechnology spinout. 


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