CAMH is committed to translating scientific discoveries into practical applications to help understand, diagnose and treat not only substance use disorder and mental illness but also to promote cutting-edge technologies that could transform biology or treatment of disease.
Below are the categories of CAMH technologies that are available for licensing. Feel free to contact our office should you require more information or wish to begin the first steps in securing a licensing deal.
Diagnostics for Intellectual Disability
Brief Description: Our scientists have discovered a nonsense mutation in the TRAPPC9 gene and a missense mutation in the NSUN2 gene that allows for the direct diagnosis of intellectual disability with a predictive value of nearly 100%. These markers would strengthen the genetic testing menu of a diagnostic company, and may support therapeutic interventions for intellectual disability.
Genetic Test for Predicting Risk of Suicide
Brief description: Suicide claims over a million lives each year with 20 suicide attempts for each attributable death. Suicide has a prominent genetic component, and attempts tend to occur more often within families. Our test is based on obtaining a genetic sample from a subject and identifying whether they are at risk for suicide by identifying one or more genetic markers associated with it. Two complementary sets of genetic markers are included, which may be used separately, or combined into a broader panel. We enable the a priori detection of the risk of suicidal tendencies and the determination of the increased risk of suicide in otherwise healthy subjects. Increased suicide risk in conjunction with co-morbidities of suicide attempts can also be quantified.
Novel Assay for Assessing Anticholinergic Toxicity in Cognitive Impairment
Brief description: Drugs that block cholinergic receptor function in the brain are known to be associated with cognitive impairment, including confusion, decreased attention and memory deficits. The effect of these medications on cholinergic receptors in the brain makes it difficult to differentiate cognitive deficits induced by aggregate anticholinergic burden from similar deficits resulting from pathological conditions, including mild cognitive impairment and dementia-type conditions. Due to the prevalence of various degrees of cognitive decline in the elderly, some 35.6 million people worldwide, at present and projected to be in excess of 115 million in 2050, CAMH scientists have devised a test which accurately and objectively differentiates cognitive impairment due to anticholinergic loading and would permit rapid clinical intervention.
Pharmacogenetic Panel and Algorithm for Predicting Antipsychotic-Induced Weight Gain
Brief description: Weight gain is a serious, and often life-threatening complication of antipsychotic treatment. The present technology is a pharmacogenetic panel which makes use of polymorphisms in the genes modulating the appetite and satiety pathways coupled with an algorithm to predict the likelihood of weight gain following treatment with antipsychotic drugs such as clozapine and olanzapine. The test provides for the a priori detection and quantification of the risk of antipsychotic - induced weight gain (AIWG) before antipsychotic treatment, facilitates the correct selection of medication and/or dosage regimes not likely to cause AIWG and will save healthcare payer funds by de-escalating co-morbidities of antipsychotic-treated illnesses.
Novel Preventive Therapeutic and Diagnostic Assay for PTSD
Brief description: Our scientists have identified a protein complex that is significantly elevated in peripheral blood from PTSD patients. Disruption of this complex with a novel peptide, results in a significant reduction in PTSD-like symptoms in a mouse model of PTSD. This protein complex can also be used as a true diagnostic marker given that a dramatic increase in protein complex formation was detected in peripheral blood of subjects exposed to a traumatic event that developed PTSD, but not in those that did not develop PTSD. Therefore, high levels of this protein complex are strongly indicative of PTSD, particularly in its sub-clinical, incipient stage.
Novel Therapeutics for Depression
Brief description: Our scientists identified a coupling between two functionally distinct neurotransmitter receptors, D1 & D2, as a novel target for treatment of major depressive disorder. Investigators developed a short length peptide that interferes with the receptor coupling thereby leading to the development of a breakthrough therapy capable of delivering enhanced affinity, efficacy, and a superior side effect profile. The peptide does not block ligand binding, thus it does not interfere with normal physiological functions associated with the receptors. The antidepressant effect of the novel peptide was confirmed in animal models of depression.
Novel Therapeutics for the Treatment of Cognitive Deficits
Brief description: Cognitive deficits are prevalent in depression and common during aging and in age-related neurodegenerative disorders, but are not treated by approved drugs. Our scientists have some exciting data regarding the optimization of lead compounds that facilitate α5-GABAA-R function and display therapeutic efficacy in mouse models of cognitive deficits in depression and aging. One of our more advanced compounds has demonstrated the ability to not only treat symptoms but to also halt and reverse an underlying pathology associated with cognitive impairment present in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease among others. Specifically, this compound reversed the shrinkage of neurons that is normally observed during aging.
Novel Therapeutics for the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Brief Description: Our scientists have developed a novel series of peptide and small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). This development program targets neuroprotective mechanisms through a highly specific interaction in GluA2/GAPDH signalling. It has been demonstrated that both these peptide and lead small molecules are highly effective in animal models of MS. In addition, these therapeutics promote neuronal and oligodendrocyte survival. Agents that selectively inhibit highly specific protein interactions are likely to be safer than traditional receptor antagonists.
Novel Therapeutics for the Treatment of Schizophrenia
Brief Description: Our researchers have discovered that two key proteins, the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) and the protein “disrupted in schizophrenia 1” (DISC1), form a protein‐protein interaction complex which has been shown to contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Through the characterization of the protein‐protein interaction, we have developed a peptide that specifically interferes with this coupling; leading to the development of a breakthrough therapy capable of delivering enhanced affinity, efficacy, and a superior side effect profile.
Novel Therapeutics for the Treatment of Stroke
Brief Description: Our scientists have identified a previously unrecognized molecular pathway involving a series of protein‐protein interactions that underlies glutamate (GluR2) containing - α‐amino‐3‐hydroxy‐5‐methylisoxazole‐4‐propionic acid (AMPA) receptor mediated excitotoxicity as a novel target for treatment of stroke induced neuronal death and brain damage. Using this knowledge, CAMH scientists have discovered an interfering peptide which protects cells against ischemic- induced stroke, increasing neuronal survival and total infarct volume for up to 6 hours post administration.
Nutraceutical for the Prevention of Postpartum Blues
Brief description: Our scientists have formulated a nutraceutical treatment to prevent "baby blues" and postpartum depression, which affects 75% and 13% of new mothers respectively. Treatment with this nutraceutical, over days 4-5 postpartum, almost entirely prevents occurrence of "baby blues," while at the same time being completely safe to the mother and baby. Elevated levels of the protein monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) are found during early postpartum periods. MAO-A removes the serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, and high levels of MAO-A result in abnormally low levels of these neurotransmitters, which causes a sad mood and/or depression. To counter the excessive removal of these brain chemicals early postpartum, our natural health product contains a specific combination of ingredients that replaces the brain chemicals that are removed by MAO-A.
Brief description: A4i, the App4Independence, aims to solve a number of problems along the schizophrenia care continuum. An evidence-based, patient-to-patient mobile app and provider portal, A4i enhances illness self-management and provider engagement to support recovery, medication adherence and community functioning while using machine learning to predict and reduce relapse risk for people living with schizophrenia and psychosis. A4i is a joint venture between MEMOTEXT Corp., a leader in machine learning driven patient engagement, and CAMH.
Mobile App for Schizophrenia
Brief Description: CAMH researchers have developed a mobile app to objectively assess and encourage motivated behaviour, specifically goal-directed activity, which involves setting and completing plans and goals. The app allows for geo-location sensing that captures real-world behaviour and is connected to a reminder system that prompts the individual to pursue their goals. The mobile app offers a solution to the problem of motivation deficits in schizophrenia and would be a highly valuable tool for physicians and patients for improving motivation and promoting recovery, and for pharma who would benefit from the use of the app to assess patient response to medication.
Blood Pressure Awareness Scale and Insight Scale (BASIS)
Brief Description: Our researchers have developed a novel and easy-to-administer self-report measure of illness awareness in hypertension, a condition attributed to individuals with metabolic syndrome. The measure assesses the core domains of illness awareness, including awareness of need for treatment. With 10-point Likert scales for each item, this scale has the capacity to detect small changes in illness awareness and need for treatment scores. The tool provides a set of questions specific to blood pressure that are within the niche of understanding patient awareness of their illness, as well as a screening mechanism to determine which patients are most suitable for medication adherence programs or intervention.
Glucose Awareness Scale and Insight Scale (GAS)
Brief Description: Our researchers have developed a novel and easy-to-administer self-report measure of illness awareness in diabetes, a condition attributed to individuals with metabolic syndrome. The measure assesses the core domains of illness awareness, including awareness of need for treatment. With 10-point Likert scales for each item, this scale has the capacity to detect small changes in illness awareness and need for treatment scores. The tool provides a set of questions specific to diabetes that are within the niche of understanding patient awareness of their illness, as well as a screening mechanism to determine which patients are most suitable for medication adherence programs or intervention.
Obesity Awareness Scale and Insight Scale (OASIS)
Brief Description: Our researchers have developed a novel and easy-to-administer self-report measure of illness awareness in obesity, a condition attributed to individuals with metabolic syndrome. The measure assesses the core domains of illness awareness, including awareness of need for treatment. With 10-point Likert scales for each item, this scale has the capacity to detect small changes in illness awareness and need for treatment scores. The tool provides a set of questions specific to overweight or obesity that are within the niche of understanding patient awareness of their illness, as well as a screening mechanism to determine which patients are most suitable for medication adherence programs or intervention.
Psychosis Insight Assessment Scale
Brief Description: Our researchers have developed an easy to administer schizophrenia insight scale. The scale features both self-reported and clinician-rated versions that would be sensitive to small changes in insight over brief periods of time. Additionally, the scale would be able to assess the multidimensionality of insight. A 10 item self-report (VAGUS-SR) and a 5 item clinician-rated version (VAGUS-CR) of the scale were designed, based on previously validated scales, to measure the dimensions of insight into psychosis. Both scales are efficient, each taking approximately 5 minutes to administer/complete. Click here to visit the VAGUS scale website.
Novel “In-Loop” Method for Fluorination of Radioligands
Brief description: The success of molecular imaging with PET depends on the availability of selective molecular probes labelled with positron-emitters, such as fluorine-18 (18F, t1/2 = 109.7 min) or carbon-11 (11C, t1/2 = 20.3 min). The captive solvent (“in-loop”) methodologies have become widely adopted for routine 11C-radiotracer syntheses because of the simplicity, high radiochemical yields, speed, versatility and ease of automation. Our scientists have developed a new method to introduce an 18F-label onto compounds of interest using an “in-loop” protocol. This novel method is simple, efficient and allows for a reliable production of radiofluorinated compounds and radiopharmaceuticals.
The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is seeking partners to either license or co-develop these technologies. CAMH is open to various forms of collaboration.
Dr. Klara Vichnevetski
Director, Industry Partnerships & Technology Transfer
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