Addiction may have met its match in Awakn Life Sciences therapeutics

Addiction is one of the biggest unmet medical needs globally with substance and behavioral addictions affecting a significant proportion of the global adult population. Here are some key metrics: The global substance addiction treatment industry was valued at US$16 billion in 2021 and is forecast to increase to US$25 billion by 2027, while the overall global addiction rehabilitation & recovery industry was estimated to be valued at US$140 billion per annum in 2021. The latter includes behavioral disorders like gambling, binge eating, and internet gaming, all of which I’m sure have increased rapidly over the past 2 years which saw much of the world locked in our rooms like a bunch of insolent school children.

The challenge with behavioral and substance addictions is that it tends to be a poorly treated, chronic disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. Treatment rates are typically low and relapse rates are typically high. For example, with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), which affects 5% of the global adult population, only 16% of those suffering with AUD seek treatment and there is a 70% relapse rate within the first 12 months for those that do seek treatment. Up to another 27% of the US adult population are affected by behavioral addictions. Which really puts the market valuations noted above into context. Imagine if treatment were more effective and easy to access what the overall market could be valued at.

The good news is, there is a company out there that is trying to make a difference, Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN | OTCQB: AWKNF). Awakn is a biotechnology company, researching, developing, and commercializing combined therapeutics to treat addiction, with a focus on Alcohol Use Disorder. Awakn’s team consists of renowned research experts, world leading chemists, scientists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Awakn is working to disrupt this underperforming industry by advancing the next generation of drugs and therapies to be used in combination, through preclinical research and clinical stage trials.

What differentiates Awakn from peers who are simply researching drugs to cure whatever ails you is their new proprietary combined therapeutics that approach the treatment of addiction in a radically different way than before. Based on new research, Awakn’s drugs will target the brain circuits that drive addiction through multiple receptors rather than single drug receptors. These circuits control the behavioral drivers of addiction. By focusing on circuit mechanisms rather than isolated receptors Awakn’s approach has the potential to be effective in the treatment of both substance and behavioral addictions. This disruption allows the individual to escape from the repetitive addictive behaviors and thoughts, and in doing so engage with a psychotherapeutic process to enable lasting positive change. This is where Awakn’s proprietary therapy comes in. Their therapies work in conjunction with their medicines, enabling the patients to regain control over their lives and helping them to learn new more adaptive ways to respond to addictive urges, cravings and the underlying processes that drive them.

Recent news flow from the Company is confirming that success with the May 19th announcement of the completion of the world’s first ketamine treatment study for behavioral addictions. The study investigated ketamine as a new treatment approach for these behavioral addictions by opening a window in which the brain can make new connections to change behavior. The results from the study indicate the desired effects via potentially novel mechanisms and these results merit a larger study and further exploration, which Awakn is now initiating. The study also supports Awakn’s Intellectual Property (IP) strategy and existing filed patent applications, positioning Awakn as a leading company in the behavioral-addiction therapeutic research and development industry. This news was followed a week later with the filing of a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application for the treatment of behavioral addictions with ketamine and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. The patent claims would give Awakn exclusive rights to use ketamine and ketamine-assisted therapy for the treatment of behavioral addictions. With no effective pharmacological treatments available globally at present for behavioral addictions, the study results, and the patent filing, position Awakn at the forefront of the industry at a time when rates of behavioral addictions are increasing at an alarming pace and sufferers have few treatment options which deliver poor outcomes.

Additionally, the Company has opened three fully-operational ketamine-assisted therapy clinics, two in the UK and one in Norway, which are now generating revenue for Awakn. Each clinic is anticipated to generate on average £3 million (US$3.75 million) revenue per annum. The target is 15 – 20 clinics by the end of 2024, with an average of 6 treatment rooms per clinic. The next step is to then take the protocols established at these operational clinics and license them to partners outside of the environments where Awakn has a physical footprint, starting with the US and Canada in Q3 of this year.

At the end of their last quarter (Jan 31/22) the Company still had some work to do to generate enough revenue to cover its cash flow needs but that could be changing quickly. With a market cap of C$32 million and a tight share structure with only 27 million shares outstanding, of which 61% are escrowed, future good news could have a material impact on the share price of Awakn.

Awakn Life Sciences’ new psychedelic drug treatment for alcohol addiction moving to clinical trial

As we all know alcohol addiction is one of the worst addictions in society costing billions per year. A 2010 study found that alcohol abuse in the USA costs the country US$249 billion a year. A Washington Post report stated that “total cost manifests itself primarily in things like early mortality due to alcohol ($75 billion of the total), lost productivity and absenteeism at work ($82 billion), health-care costs ($28 billion), crime ($25 billion) and car crashes ($13 billion).”

Awakn states: “Between 15-20% of adults suffer from substance addictions, and many others from behavioral addictions……$17 billion per year (and rising) is spent on private addiction treatment.”

With this in mind, the company has recently had some very encouraging results proving the effectiveness of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy on alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Some comments from patients in the study included:

  • It helped family wise, relationship wise, in every, every single avenue of my life, It’s changed it.”
  • “I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for it. I can definitely say that.”
  • “I feel I have much less desire to drink now than I used to. And I think what it is, I actually, I think I enjoy it less now.

The Company is Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN | OTCQB: AWKNF) (“Awakn”) and they believe their treatment can “revolutionise the treatment of alcohol use disorder.”

Awakn is developing a revolutionary new approach for treating substance and behavioral addictions


The ‘Ketamine in the Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse’ (KARE) psychotherapy intervention study results

The actual study results will be published in the American Journal of Psychiatry later this year. However, judging from the patient’s comments above and the insider’s comments below the results appear to be outstanding.

Professor of Psychopharmacology at the UK’s University of Exeter (UoE), Celia Morgan commented: “We are delighted that the findings are to be published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. This new approach looks set to revolutionize the treatment of alcohol use disorder. We are excited to partner with Awakn for the next steps in the journey of ketamine-assisted therapy into a licensed treatment for this group of patients with limited treatment options.”

Awakn CEO, Anthony Tennyson, commented: “This is a very exciting moment for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. For so many people who are suffering from alcohol addiction, for whom the current treatments just aren’t working, a successful phase II a/b trial and a unified ambition to progress this forward to a pivotal trial, gives real hope to those seeking a better and healthier future.”

Note: Professor Morgan headed up the KARE study. Awakn has acquired the rights to this research.

More about Awakn Life Sciences

Awakn is a biotechnology company with clinical operations that researches, develops, and delivers psychedelic and other medicines to treat all types of addiction, as well as some other mental health disorders. Some examples of the conditions treated by Awakn include anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and various types of addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling etc).

Awakn’s team consists of world leading chemists, scientists, psychiatrists, and psychologists who are developing and advancing the next generation of psychedelic drugs, therapies, and enabling technologies to treat addiction. The team was recently strengthened by adding Kate Butler as CFO. Ms. Butler joins Awakn from Vectura Group plc, where she was the Group Financial Controller leading the team’s strategic, finance and M&A activity. Prior to that, she was Head of Finance for EMEA Cell Therapy (Kite Europe) and EMEA Controller for Gilead Sciences Inc.

In terms of commercialization, Awakn is still in the early stages. Awakn did announce in November 2021 a MOU with UK National Health Service (“NHS”) provider Devon Partnership NHS Trust, to increase access to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy in the UK. The announcement stated:

“The partnership establishes a framework and strategic relationship to assess NHS organizational readiness for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. It will investigate how to enhance the evidence base for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as an alternative treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder and treatment-resistant depression within the NHS. The partnership will also assess how best to accelerate the on-label use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy to treat AUD at scale.”

Awakn plans to deliver their evidence backed psychedelic therapies in clinics in the UK and Europe and through licensing partnerships, globally, starting already. As announced in October 2021, Awakn Clinics Bristol has received Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) formal approval to begin treatments. The news stated: “The clinic will begin delivering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatments in October.”

There is also now an Awakn Clinics Oslo, in Norway.

A summary of Awakn’s business plan

Source: Awakn Life Sciences company presentation

Closing remarks

Awakn is developing a revolutionary new approach for treating substance and behavioral addictions. Awakn’s latest alcohol study results will also soon be followed with their gambling addiction study results (some details on the study here), also conducted by the University of Exeter.

Alcohol addiction is just one of many addictions that Awakn is working on to deliver effective and safe treatment.  All of this means that Awakn is beginning to tap into a truly massive untapped sector where for years treatments either didn’t exist or were often ineffective. Awakn is now commercializing their products with their new Awakn clinics in Bristol in the UK and Oslo in Norway, as well as plans for further expansion.

Awakn Life Sciences trades on a market cap of just C$71 million. One to watch as the stock has been on the rise in 2021 and the Company looks to be making some serious progress.

Further reading

Awakn announces first-ever study investigating ketamine in gambling addiction treatment

When we think about addiction many people think about drugs, tobacco, and alcohol addiction; but often forget about gambling addiction. Here are some sobering statistics on gambling and substance addiction:

Statistics on gambling and substance addiction

Source: Awakn company presentation

Now a company is working on researching and developing a medicine to help individuals overcome gambling addiction. The Company is Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN | OTCQB: AWKNF) (“Awakn”).

Awakn is a biotechnology company with clinical operations that researches, develops, and delivers psychedelic and other medicines to treat all types of addiction as well as some other mental health disorders. Some examples of the conditions treated by Awakn include anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, and various types of addiction.

On August 24 Awakn announced that it received ethical committee approval and initiated recruitment for the first-ever study investigating ketamine in gambling addiction. The news states: “The study will be led by Celia Morgan, Ph.D., Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter, U.K., Awakn’s Head of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Addiction and an internationally respected expert in the therapeutic use of ketamine……The study will explore whether ketamine administration can modify the reward memories associated with gambling.”

Professor Morgan commented: “This study is an exciting first step toward a new treatment for gambling disorder, and one which will give new insights into the neurobiology of this damaging and often overlooked addiction, we are delighted that Awakn is able to take the lead in developing solutions to address this growing unmet treatment need.”

The study forms part of Awakn’s strategy to develop and deliver proprietary psychedelic therapeutics (both medicine and therapy) to better treat both substance addiction, which affects 15% to 20% of global adult population and behavioral addiction.

These are huge markets ripe for disruption!

Awakn has brought together a research team that consists of world-leading experts in the fields of drug development, clinical research, psychiatry, and psychotherapy. The team is building a pipeline of new therapies and drug candidates. You can read more on the extensive team here.

Awakn Life Sciences three key areas of addiction medicines development include:

  • Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy for substance and behavioral addictions.
  • MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy for alcohol use disorder
  • New Chemical Entities – For alcohol, behavioural, opioid, and tobacco addictions

Awakn Clinics rollout plan has begun

Awakn’s target is 20 clinics by end 2024 focused primarily on addiction treatment. Awakn says that each clinic will generate between GBP£1.75 million and GBP£3.5 million in revenue. The UK clinic opening lead time is 6 months and the EU is 6 to 12 months depending on the jurisdiction. You can read the recent news on the Awakn Clinics London clinic launch. The summary is that Awakn will open a 5,000 square-foot, 8 treatment room clinic, to deliver psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy treatments, such as ketamine-assisted therapies.

Source: Awakn company presentation

Closing remarks

The global substance addiction treatment industry is valued at USD17.5 billion pa and is forecast to increase to USD31.5 billion pa by 2027. The global gambling addiction treatment industry is still at an early stage with no FDA approved medications for the treatment of pathological gambling in the USA.

Awakn is now targeting both the substance and gambling addiction sectors, as they believe that psychedelics have the potential to radically change addiction treatment and deliver significantly better patient outcomes. 

Awakn Life Sciences trades on a market cap of only C$45 million which is very small compared to the USD17.5 billion pa global addiction treatment industry. Clearly, there is a huge potential market ahead for Awakn should their products and services prove to be successful at scale.

Awakn Life Sciences’ Anthony Tennyson on using researched backed psychedelic drugs and therapies to treat Alcohol Use Disorder

In a recent InvestorIntel interview, Tracy Weslosky speaks with Anthony Tennyson, CEO of Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN) about Awakn’s commitment to use researched backed psychedelic drugs and therapies to treat addictions such as Alcohol Use Disorder.

In this InvestorIntel interview, which may also be viewed on YouTube (click here to subscribe to the InvestorIntel Channel), Anthony went on to say that Alcohol Use Disorder affects 5% of the global population with a 70% relapse rate within the 1st 12 months and accounts for 30% of the global addiction treatment market. Anthony further said that as clinics start to rollout this year starting with the UK, “Awakn will be the only company in the world providing evidence backed ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for Alcohol Use Disorder.”

To watch the full interview, click here

About Awakn Life Sciences Corp.

Awakn Life Sciences is a biotechnology company with clinical operations, researching, developing, and delivering psychedelic medicine to better treat Addiction. Awakn’s team consists of world leading chemists, scientists, psychiatrists, and psychologists who are developing and advancing the next generation of psychedelic drugs, therapies, and enabling technologies to treat Addiction. Awakn will also deliver evidence backed psychedelic therapies for Addiction in clinics in the UK and Europe and through licencing partnerships globally.

To learn more about Awakn Life Sciences Corp., click here

Disclaimer: Awakn Life Sciences Corp. is an advertorial member of InvestorIntel Corp.

This interview, which was produced by InvestorIntel Corp. (IIC) does not contain, nor does it purport to contain, a summary of all the material information concerning the Company” being interviewed. IIC offers no representations or warranties that any of the information contained in this interview is accurate or complete. 

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