Jeff Jonas, M.D., CEO of Sage Therapeutics had a lot to say when we interviewed him for our July issue. Since not all of the information can always be included in our print editions, we developed this online exclusive section, Beyond The Printed Page. Subscribe to our monthly magazine here to get access to insightful and interesting feature articles like the one on the CEO of Sage Therapeutics. We hope you enjoy this latest Beyond The Printed Page installment.
Jonas described the company’s approach of designing smaller clinical trials as a “return to basics.” So I asked, “What was the catalyst for taking such an approach.” The trained psychiatrist shared his thoughts on what makes drug development for CNS disorders unique. “If you look at cancer and immunotherapy, you can pick a target, and through the use of animal models, rapidly get a sense of how active a potential compound is going to be in humans,” he explains. CNS is different in that they may not be target-based. “Human data, and its evaluation, is the only way to gain an understanding of the complex neurochemical interactions of the disorders we are attempting to treat.” Jonas recalls that as a medical student at Harvard, his group was the first to do anti-depressant therapy of bulimia. “My career started with human trials, and what you learn very early is that the surest way to find something that works is to achieve success in humans. That’s what we’ve done at Sage Therapeutics,” he concludes.