An NR2B-specific NMDA antagonist that may provide a rapid onset of action


Targeting MDD

CERC-301 is a selective NR2B specific NMDA receptor antagonist being developed as an adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). We believe CERC-301 will have a rapid onset of effect, be well tolerated and may have fewer side effects than the leading adjunctive treatments currently available, such as atypical antipsychotics, whose treatment efficacy is hindered by side effects such as weight gain and increased risk of diabetes. We expect that an adjunctive therapy with the attributes of CERC-301 will lead to superior outcomes and improved compliance.

of CERC-301

  • NR2B selectivity reduces ketamine-like side effects
  • Potential rapid onset of action
  • Oral formulation

About MDD

Depression is one of the most common serious medical and psychiatric disorders

Numerous studies have shown that many patients do not respond to their initial antidepressant therapy. For example, according to a 2006 report funded by the NIMH and titled “Acute and Longer-Term Outcomes in Depressed Outpatients Requiring One of Several Treatment Steps: A STAR-D Report”, or the STAR-D Report, 51.4% of patients failed to respond, defined as achieving a 50% reduction in symptoms, and only 36.8% became symptom free, or achieved remission, after their initial 12-week treatment course with monoamine antidepressants. As such, physicians commonly will switch patients' antidepressants to manage depression, and patients may require two or three courses of treatment, before achieving satisfactory relief. The depression may persist following a course of treatment and additional medications may need to be used adjunctively. These adjunctive agents may include atypical antipsychotics, like aripiprazole and quetiapine, or other agents such as buproprion, and lithium. While certain patients experience improvement in their depressive symptoms when these additional therapies are added to their existing treatments, many do not.

Mechanism of Action

NR2B specific NMDA antagonist

CERC-301’s mechanism of action is based on ketamine and is an oral, NR2B specific, NMDA receptor antagonist that will be a “first-in-class” medication with the potential for causing a significant reduction in symptoms in a matter of days, compared to weeks or months with conventional therapies. As a new mechanism of action, CERC-301 holds promise as an adjunctive treatment for millions of severely depressed patients who do not respond to existing therapies or require fast-acting treatment in acute situations.