Perception Neuroscience and Otsuka Pharmaceutical to Collaborate on Treating Depression

By McKenzie Carpenter Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Mental health research continues to prove to be a necessity as treatments could quite possibly save lives. Perception Neuroscience, a neuropsychiatry biopharmaceutical company, and pharmaceutical business, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, announced a partnership today to further develop PCN-101, a receptor molecule that can modulate brain changes, to potentially help treat depressive disorders in Japan.

A hand touching a 3D rendering of a brain.

About the Companies

Perception Neuroscience is a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing innovative therapies in neuropsychiatry. More specifically, the business is developing PCN-101, or an Arketamine/R-ketamine molecule, to make a significant impact on treatment for mental health disorders. According to the company website, arketamine has “suggested potential for rapid acting antidepressant (RAAD) activity,” with clinical trials for the compound beginning in early 2020.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical is a Japanese pharmaceutical business that manufactures, sells, imports, and exports pharmaceutical products. It is just one business under the Otsuka Holdings Co., Ltd. name. The parent company has an estimated worth of ¥2.62 trillion (approximately $24 trillion). The pharmaceutical business specializes in three areas: neuroscience, nephrology (the study of the kidneys), and digital innovation.

Today Perception Neuroscience and Otsuka Pharmaceutical announced that each pharmaceutical company would be collaborating on the former’s PCN-101 formulation.

Pharmaceutical Business Collaboration

In this new collaboration, Otsuka Pharmaceutical has a licensing agreement with Perception Neuroscience for the development and commercialization of PCN-101 as potential treatment for mood disorders like major depressive disorder, or MDD, and treatment-resistant depression, or TRD, in Japan.

In addition, the neuropsychiatry biopharmaceutical company will receive an upfront payment of $20 million from Otsuka Pharmaceutical to help fund Perception Neuroscience’s overall development of treatments. The company will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones, and double-digit royalties on future sales.

Terence Kelly, Ph.D., CEO of Perception Neuroscience, said, “Otsuka is one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical companies in the neuropsychiatric space...To have such a strong collaborator at this early stage of development is a significant vote of confidence in the potential of PCN-101 for patients suffering from depression.”

Mental Health Crisis

The R&D (research and development) each business is executing could make a significant impact on mental disorder therapies. Around the world, more and more people are losing their lives due to untreated or poorly treated mental health disorders.

CNN reported that in 2020, Japan had more people die from suicide than the COVID-19 virus, with 2,153 suicide deaths in October alone. The World Health Organization, or WHO, reported that Japan has had some of the highest suicide rates in the world for quite some time.

Elsewhere in the United States (US), the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, reported that in 2018, suicide claimed the lives of more than 48,000 people. Furthermore, it’s the second-leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34. The same NIMH report claims that suicide rates in the US increased 35% between 1999 and 2018.

How to get help in the US: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention provides international resources.

About the Author


Headshot for author McKenzie Carpenter

McKenzie Carpenter is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a B.A.A. in Integrative Public Relations and French. McKenzie has previously worked for small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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