Incannex partners with Monash University to develop treatment for anxiety disorders using Virtual Reality and psychedelics

In Virtual Reality News

March 4, 2022 – Incannex Healthcare Limited, a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company developing medicinal cannabis pharmaceutical products and psychedelic medicine therapies, has this week announced that it has executed a license agreement with Monash University, a public research university based in Melbourne, Australia, to develop a novel treatment that combines virtual reality (VR) and psychedelics. This marks the initiation of a second clinical psychedelic therapy program, according to the company.

Incannex stated that it has executed an exclusive, global license in perpetuity over an immersive therapeutic VR environment that has been developed by BrainPark, a clinical research platform at Monash University’s Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health. The license allows Incannex to investigate the use of the VR therapy tool in combination with a psychedelic drug to develop a new treatment for severe forms of one or more anxiety disorders.

The VR treatment uses an exposure-based approach, providing triggering stimuli in a graded and controlled manner (Exposure and Response Prevention or ERP). Alongside specialized clinical support and the administration of a psychedelic drug, Incannex hopes that its approach may allow for the development of new skills, changes in mental and biological responses to triggering stimuli, and reductions in pathological symptoms and behaviors. The research agreement for this first trial will assess optimal dose, safety, and tolerability of the combination treatment method. 

The associated research and development project will be funded by Incannex and undertaken by Monash, led by Dr Paul Liknaitzky (Head, The Clinical Psychedelic Research Lab, Turner Institute and Department of Psychiatry, Monash) and Professor Murat Yücel (Director, BrainPark, Turner Institute, Monash), in collaboration with Professor Suresh Sundram (Head, Department of Psychiatry, Monash) and Dr Rebecca Segrave (Deputy Director, BrainPark, Monash).

CEO and Managing Director of Incannex, Joel Latham, said: “We’re delighted to have commenced this exciting project and to have expanded our partnership with Monash. The combination of psychedelic compounds with an evidence-based VR therapy is a leading edge in the field of mental health treatments. We look forward to providing more detail about the project in due course when clinical trial planning has been finalized.”

For more information on Incannex and its therapies that combine virtual reality and psychedelics, please visit the company’s website.

Image credit: BrainPark

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.