One of the promising scientific collaborations in our neuroscience pipeline is with Minerva Neurosciences, focusing on MIN-202 – a selective orexin-2 antagonist being studied for the treatment of insomnia and potentially other disorders associated with sleep disorders such as major depressive disorder, an area of strategic focus for Janssen.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is estimated to impact more than 350 million people across all ages worldwide. It is the leading cause of disability around the world and a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Depression has serious impacts on quality of life and sufferers often function poorly at work, school and within family. Long-lasting and severe forms of depression can become especially serious health concerns and at worst, depression can lead to suicide.
Symptoms of insomnia are common in depression and can contribute to deficits--in function and quality of life. While sleep disturbances can be a sign of depression, the exact link between sleep and mood disorders is complex and requires further study. In fact, little is known about the prevalence of insomnia symptoms in patients seeking treatment for depression.
In patients with depression, sleep disturbances (both insomnia and hypersomnia) have been associated with a suboptimal response to antidepressant drug (AD) therapy, an increased risk for relapse (in AD-responsive patients), and prodromal depression. Recent studies have shown that orexin-2 receptor antagonism might have a beneficial effect on overall arousal and stress level.
Research has shown that sleep problems (insomnia and hypersomnia) are frequently associated with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) (van Mill et al., 2010) and that chronic insomnia may be an early symptom of MDD (Breslau 1996; Johnson 2006; Jansson-Fröjmark 2008).
That is why we are pleased that the Minerva program – which examines this link - is advancing. Recently, Minerva provided an update on the MIN-202 program and reported that preliminary results provide additional support for progression of MIN-202 into next stage of clinical development.
“While MIN-202 is still in early stages of development, we believe the data are promising and are enthusiastic about what we will continue to learn through further clinical development for its potential to treat sleep disorders as well as sleep disorders associated with major depressive disorder,” noted Wayne Drevets, MD, Disease Area Leader for Mood in the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area of Janssen Research & Development.
Our collaboration with Minerva is a good example of how we can leverage clinical insights at the earliest stages of development to advance new ideas across therapeutic areas.