Brain disorders such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), are debilitating and have a devastating impact on people who suffer from them. Currently, most treatments for OCD include antidepressants. For some, these antidepressants help control symptoms, for others though, the side effects from them become too much to handle.
We are researching a new way to control the symptoms of OCD by studying the glutamate system in the brain. This part of the brain acts as a neurotransmitter between nerve cells. Some research suggests that abnormal levels of communication between these nerve cells might be responsible for the development of OCD. So, we have developed an experimental medicine with the goal to help regulate those levels.
The Challenges and Opportunities in Researching OCD
Biohaven is currently studying the glutamate system and how it relates to OCD.
Researching OCD can be challenging because it can be tricky to recruit for clinical studies. Here’s why:
- People who suffer from OCD usually don’t want to publicly state they have OCD.
- People who suffer from OCD are more thoughtful and contemplative and take longer to make a decision to participate in a study which makes the enrollment period longer.
- For many people who suffer from OCD it can take years before they seek treatment, or even be diagnosed with OCD .
Most large pharmaceutical companies with a focused timeline, would have to wait years to get through the study, making it less profitable. Therefore, not many can viably tackle the problem.
Biohaven turned these challenges into opportunities, however, by building long-lasting partnerships within the community. These partnerships include academic leaders, OCD advocacy groups and nOCD, an organization who created a platform for people who suffer from OCD to connect with providers, treatments, and resources to help reach patients where they are most comfortable. These collaborative partnerships help increase the transfer of knowledge and understanding between patients and researchers allowing us to better and more efficiently communicate with each other.
Dr. Vlad Coric, CEO and Director of Biohaven Pharmaceuticals began researching OCD at Yale where he ran the OCD Research Clinic at Yale School of Medicine and has conducted numerous clinical trials. This was his first area of academic research and where he saw first-hand the severe impact OCD has on patients and their families. He has since been dedicated to helping advance the science to help improve the lives of people who suffer from the disorder.
“We’re in it for the long haul,” says Dr. Coric. “We have a long academic heritage and a team of seasoned pharmaceutical researchers dedicated to improving the standard of care for OCD patients.”
Evolving OCD Research
Once the clinical trial is complete, we will take the learnings to help hone the research process, increase efficiency for future clinical trials, and utilize the host of knowledge to further improve the standard of care for people who suffer from OCD.