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Toronto, ON, June 11, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —logo of CAMH

It is estimated that 5% of the global population is affected by Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at any given time. While there are many antidepressant drugs on the market, most of these drugs need weeks to take effect, if at all. This exciting new project hopes to develop a novel rapid-acting antidepressant that has the potential to provide patient relief much faster than conventional treatments.

The project builds on years of research led by Dr. José Nobrega at CAMH, a MaRS Innovation member organization. Dr. Nobrega has been focused on targeting a specific channel in the brain that plays a key role in mediating emotional and stress responses.  The new collaboration – the fifth to be developed under MaRS Innovation’s LAB150 partnership with German-based Evotec SE – aims to develop selective drugs that will modulate these channels in order to produce rapid antidepressant activity.

“Depression is a leading cause of death and disability around the world”, says Dr. José Nobrega. “Identification of new rapid-acting antidepressant treatments could have a major impact on the treatment of depression and the associated risk of suicide.  The LAB150 opportunity allows my lab to conduct large-scale drug screening research with our Evotec collaborators, and represents a very significant step towards translating my research into a product of benefit to patients suffering from MDD.”

“It is hugely gratifying to work with the team at both CAMH and Evotec in order to tackle this important and debilitating condition” says Dr. Rafi Hofstein, President & CEO of MaRS Innovation. “Once again, the LAB150 program is validated as a unique platform through which academic research is advanced to commercial potential, quickly and efficiently. The outcome of this new project could make a considerable impact on the mental health of those affected by depression.”

About the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit or follow @CAMHnews on Twitter.

About LAB150

LAB150 is a collaboration between MaRS Innovation and Evotec SE designed to accelerate drug discovery. We bring scientists, investors and company building expertise together to rapidly delivery concepts to the marketplace. The mission of LAB150 is three-pronged: To develop and identify commercializable assets based on disease-related novel biological pathways; To significantly shorten the drug discovery timeline and; To generate viable start-up companies with high potential for success. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @LAB_150.

About Evotec SE

Evotec is a drug discovery alliance and development partnership company focused on rapidly progressing innovative product approaches with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academics, patient advocacy groups and venture capitalists. We operate worldwide and our more than 2,600 employees provide the highest quality stand-alone and integrated drug discovery and development solutions. We cover all activities from target-to-clinic to meet the industry’s need for innovation and efficiency in drug discovery and development (EVT Execute). The Company has established a unique position by assembling top-class scientific experts and integrating state-of-the-art technologies as well as substantial experience and expertise in key therapeutic areas including neuronal diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, pain and inflammation, oncology, infectious diseases, respiratory diseases and fibrosis. On this basis, Evotec has built a broad and deep pipeline of approx. 100 co-owned product opportunities at clinical, pre-clinical and discovery stages (EVT Innovate). Evotec has established multiple long-term alliances with partners including Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Celgene, CHDI, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda, UCB and others. For additional information please go to and follow us on Twitter @Evotec.

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