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Circular Genomics Announces Two Significant Steps Forward in Linking CircRNA to Major Depression

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

July 11, 2023

Albuquerque, NM, July 11, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Circular Genomics, the global leader in the use of circular RNA (circRNA) biomarkers for precision psychiatry, today announced the results of a new study that shows circRNAs can be used to predict with high accuracy a patient’s response to the SSRI, Sertraline, one of the most common treatments for clinical depression. This critical milestone, showing brain-enriched circRNAs detected in whole blood from depression patients of the ‘EMBARC’ (Establishing Moderators and Biosignatures of Antidepressant Response for Clinical Care for Depression) study, a large antidepressant response study led by Dr. Madhukar Trivedi from UT Southwestern Medical Center, demonstrates the potential for circRNA-based tests to streamline the treatment process for depression and alleviate current trial-and-error approaches. “We’re excited to announce the findings from the EMBARC study and the ways in which we expect it to shape the future of depression treatment,” said Dr. Nikolaos Mellios, co-founder and CSO of Circular Genomics. “While DNA-based pharmacogenomic tests are available, their ability to predict drug response or therapy monitoring is lacking and market adoption has been slow. With our new findings, we can work to end the guessing game mental health patients currently have to go through. When someone is already struggling with depression, the process of going on and off medications while finding the right antidepressant can be highly unpleasant at best and in some cases dangerous.” Major depressive disorder emerged as a global public health emergency during the covid pandemic, and unfortunately first-line therapies fail 60% of the time, with the average time to find effective treatment being as long as 12 months. Circular Genomics’ novel approach using the stable and robust biomarker of circular RNA, highly expressed in neural tissue and increasingly associated with numerous neurological conditions, opens the possibility for more precise therapy selection, diagnosis and patient stratification in mental health drug discovery. “Our data suggests that predictive circRNAs detected in the blood are produced in the brain, where they are regulated via known biological mechanisms related to antidepressant response,” added Dr. Mellios. In further developing its robust diagnostic and prognostic tests, Circular Genomics has closed an agreement with the ANTaRES consortium (The Biomarkers of ANTidepressant RESponse: early indicators and novel targets). ANTaRES is an ongoing clinical study in France to uncover early biomarkers and novel mechanistic targets related to antidepressant response, led by Drs. Eleni Tzavara and Raoul Belzeaux. This study includes well-characterized clinical samples and detailed health records from large psychiatric clinics in France and is designed to identify early biomarkers predicting response to differential treatment outcomes. Circular Genomics is the only commercial entity party to the ANTaRES consortium, and able to gain critical access to these highly specialized samples for its ongoing trials and product development. Taken together, these key data and ongoing access to highly characterized and rare mental health patient samples demonstrate Circular Genomics solid progress toward the launch of its circRNA-based therapy selection service via a CLIA LDT laboratory in early 2024, and further offerings to improve the standard of care in mental and behavioral health by delivering precision psychiatry. ABOUT CIRCULAR GENOMICS Circular Genomics is the leading company in the development of circular RNA-based precision medicine tools, data and diagnostics for neurology and psychiatry. The company is leveraging exclusive licenses and technologies in the use of circular RNA in major depressive disorder and other neurological diseases to disrupt and improve the standard of care. Initial products include assays to assess and direct the best treatment protocol for an individual patient and validate treatment effectiveness in days-to-weeks rather than months. For more information, please visit

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