First TAAR1 Agonist Studied as Adjunctive Therapy for MDD


The first patient in a phase 2/3 study evaluating ulotaront for MDD has been enrolled.

MDD, major depressive disorder


The first patient has been enrolled in a phase 2/3 clinical study to evaluate ulotaront (SEP-363856), a trace amine-associated receptor 1 (TAAR1) agonist with 5HT1A agonist activity, as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of adults living with major depressive disorder (MDD). Ulotaront is also being evaluated in phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of schizophrenia, and it is the first TAAR1 agonist to be studied as an adjunctive therapy for MDD.

“The initiation of the phase 2/3 study evaluating the use of ulotaront as an adjunctive treatment of [MDD] is an important step towards exploring the full medical potential of this novel TAAR1 agonist,” said Armin Szegedi, MD, PhD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Sunovion. “We have been encouraged by the pre-clinical data showing that ulotaront could have benefits for those living with mood disorder and look forward to enhancing the understanding of this innovative compound.”

The global, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study is designed to examine the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ulotaront as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of adults with MDD. Participants who do not respond to current antidepressant treatment will be randomized to receive ulotaront or placebo along with their antidepressant therapy.

The primary endpoint for the study is the reduction of depressive symptoms, as measured by the change from baseline in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score, compared to placebo at the end of the study.

“MDD is a disabling mental health condition that often requires a combination of first-line antidepressant medication and adjunctive treatments to alleviate symptoms,” said John Kraus, MD, PhD, executive vice president and chief medical officer at Otsuka. “Even with available approaches, many patients do not achieve optimal responses to treatment, in part due to the heterogeneous nature of the condition, highlighting the need for new and different treatment modalities.”


1. OTSUKA and Sunovion initiate clinical development of ulotaront for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder. Sunovion. News release. December 1, 2022.

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