Awakn Life Sciences Initiates Research Program to Further Develop Ketamine-Assisted Therapies for Treating Addiction

Program to Focus on Developing and Delivering New Treatments for Substance and Behavioral Addictions

Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - July 14, 2021) - Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN) (Awakn), a biotechnology company with clinical operations developing and delivering psychedelic medicines to better treat addiction, announced that it will undertake a program of clinical research designed to demonstrate the effectiveness for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy against multiple addictions. 

Awakn estimates that between 15% and 20% of the global adult population1, or between 840 million and 1.1 billion people, suffer from addiction such as alcohol, gambling or tobacco use. 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 who do seek treatment2.

Despite only treating a minority of those suffering from addiction and with high relapse rates, the global addiction treatment industry is currently valued at US$17.5 billion per year, forecasted to increase to US$31.5 billion per year by 20273.

To address this major and growing unmet medical need, one of the biggest in medicine, and the significant associated commercial opportunities, Awakn is developing a pipeline of next-generation therapeutics to treat addiction, with a near term focus on ketamine, a medium term focus on MDMA, and a long term focus on Awakn’s own developed drugs (New Chemical Entities or NCEs).

Awakn’s ketamine research program will focus initially on treating AUD and gambling addiction. The program will consist of, amongst other activity, a late-stage clinical trial focused on AUD, a mechanistic study focused on gambling addiction and intellectual property development activities. The program was designed and will be led by Professor Celia Morgan, Professor of Psychopharmacology at the University of Exeter, U.K., an internationally respected expert in the therapeutic use of ketamine and Awakn’s Head of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for Addiction. 

The results from this research will be used to push forward the use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as a mainstream medical treatment, available widely in the U.K., E.U. and beyond. 

Professor Morgan commented, “The need for novel and effective treatment approaches for addiction is well understood and urgent. Patients and their families are poorly served by existing treatments that are known to have very high associated relapse rates. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy has the potential to deliver a significant improvement on existing therapeutic strategies, and at Awakn we aim to prove this via a rigorous set of planned studies and trials. These are designed to help bring ketamine-assisted psychotherapy into mainstream clinical use, and I am delighted to be playing a leading role at Awakn in driving this research program forward.”

This program will position Awakn globally at the forefront of addiction treatment with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. 

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 U.K. and Europe and through licencing partnerships globally. 

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This news release contains certain forward-looking information and forward-looking statements, as defined in applicable securities laws (collectively referred to herein as "forward-looking statements"). Forward-looking statements reflect current expectations or beliefs regarding future events or the Company’s future performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "continues", "forecasts", "projects", "predicts", "intends", "anticipates", "targets" or "believes", or variations of, or the negatives of, such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "should", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, including statements relating to the proposed NEO listing, and the business of the Company. All forward-looking statements, including those herein are qualified by this cautionary statement.

Although the Company believes that the expectations expressed in such statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those in the statements. There are certain factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking information. These include: whether conditions to the listing on NEO will be satisfied; the business plans and strategies of the Company, the ability of the Company to comply with all applicable governmental regulations in a highly regulated business; the inherent risks in investing in target companies or projects which have limited or no operating history and are engaged in activities currently considered illegal in some jurisdictions; changes in laws; limited operating history; reliance on management; requirements for additional financing; competition; inconsistent public opinion and perception regarding the medical-use of psychedelic drugs; and regulatory or political change. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect forward-looking statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this news release speak only as of the date of this news release or as of the date or dates specified in such statements.

Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. For more information on the Company, investors are encouraged to review the Company’s public filings on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward- looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as required by law.

This news release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities in the United States. The Company’s and Awakn’s securities have not been and will not be registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “U.S. Securities Act”) or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold within the United States or to U.S. Persons unless registered under the U.S. Securities Act and applicable state securities laws or an exemption from such registration is available.

Investor Enquiries:
KCSA Strategic Communications
Valter Pinto / Tim Regan
Phone: +1 (212) 896-1254
Awakn@KCSA.com

Media Enquiries:
America and Canada: KCSA Strategic Communications
Anne Donohoe
Adonohoe@KCSA.com

Rest of World: ROAD Communications
Paul Jarman / Anna Ramsey
Awakn@roadcommunications.co.uk

1. Awakn’s estimate is based on WHO’s report (Percentage of people aged 15 years and older with harmful alcohol use or dependence globally in 2016), North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help statistics, and World Cancer Report: Cancer Research for Cancer Prevention.
2. Source: “Treatment rates for alcohol use disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis” by Tesfa Mekonen. 
3. Source: Reports and Data (reportsanddata.com) - Drug Addiction Treatment Market.

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/90140

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