Biopharmaceutical company Lexicon Genetics has just filed an application to authorize clinical trials using LX6171, drug developed for the treatment of cognitive disorders associated with conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s Disease, schizophrenia and Fragile X syndrome.
News of the application caused the price of Lexicon shares to increase by 7% to $4.40.
The company hopes to conduct the trials in the UK. If the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) grants authority, Lexicon will begin phase I clinical trials on healthy patients to examine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of the drug.
LX6171 is a small molecule which targets a membrane-bound protein in the central nervous system that is associated with presynaptic membranes and synaptic vesicles. Lexicon researchers noticed improved performance on learning and memory tasks in preclinical tests using knock-out mice lacking the protein.
When such drugs become widely available, their use by healthy people for cognitive enhancement will increase, raising many ethical questions.