Kenneth Koblan, PhD: Gaps in Treatment for Bipolar Depression

July 13, 2020
Kenny Walter

Kenny Walter is an editor with HCPLive. Prior to joining MJH Life Sciences in 2019, he worked as a digital reporter covering nanotechnology, life sciences, material science and more with R&D Magazine. He graduated with a degree in journalism from Temple University in 2008 and began his career as a local reporter for a chain of weekly newspapers based on the Jersey shore. When not working, he enjoys going to the beach and enjoying the shore in the summer and watching North Carolina Tar Heel basketball in the winter.

Patients with bipolar depression have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The persistent depressive episodes common in bipolar I depression patients makes treatment exceedingly difficult.

Depressive episodes can cause a number of issues in this patient population, including extreme mood swings and withdrawal from friends and family.

One of the main issues is existing treatments do not necessarily address these depressive episodes.

Recently, topline results from a phase 2 trial show SEP-4199 can effectively address some of the underlying issues that lead to depressive episodes in bipolar depression patients without eliciting the treatment emergent mania that can be a concern.

SEP-4199 is a non-racemic ratio of amisulpride enantiomers with increased potency for serotonin 5-HT7 receptors relative to dopamine D2 receptors.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Kenneth Koblan, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Sunovion, explained how SEP-4199 hopes to close some of the treatment gaps making it difficult for patients with bipolar I depression.

Koblan said the positive phase 2 results should ultimately lead to a future phase 3 trial testing the new treatment.

With many psychiatric patients struggling with the circumstances of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Koblan also discussed what psychiatrists have learned about bipolar depression from the ongoing crisis.