Military service members experience an increased lifetime risk of neuropsychiatric conditions, such as depression, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse. These conditions are substantially more prevalent in both the active duty population and veterans relative to civilians. Current treatment options for neuropsychiatric conditions typically involve some combination of psychotherapy, electrical stimulation, and/or psychopharmacology. Each of these strategies has significant limitations that hinder use, notably effectiveness, time-to-therapeutic onset, and/or invasiveness. There is a pressing need for fast-acting and safe therapeutics that can be administered acutely to mitigate the deleterious consequences of neuropsychiatric illness.
The Focused Pharma program seeks to develop novel drugs with broad-spectrum therapeutic activity and rapid onset of effect for treating a range of neuropsychiatric conditions of high need within the Department of Defense. The program supports research in medicinal chemistry and neuropharmacology to develop novel drugs that specifically engage select neurotransmitter receptor subtypes and demonstrate downstream signaling pathway bias. The terminal goal of the program is to generate and validate completely novel chemical compounds that show both increased effectiveness and reduced toxic side effects relative to current standards of treatment.
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