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Cerevance Doses First Subjects in Phase 1 Clinical Trial of CVN766

Study will evaluate safety and pharmacokinetics of potential treatment for psychiatric disorders

Boston, MA – January 25, 2022 – Cerevance, a private, clinical-stage drug discovery and development company focused on central nervous system diseases, today announced the dosing of the first human subjects in a Phase 1 clinical trial of its compound, CVN766.

CVN766 is a potent and highly selective small molecule antagonist of the orexin 1 receptor (Ox1R), a target with genetic links to panic disorder that is expressed in areas of the brain important for regulating fear, anxiety, reward and emotion. When stimulated, orexigenic neurons cause anxiety, while antagonizing Ox1R reduces this effect. CVN766 was found to be effective in various animal models of psychiatric diseases, including reversing nicotine-induced stress in rodents and acute stress behaviors in non-human primate models of panic.

“Increases of orexin levels in cerebral spinal fluid and plasma have been seen in patients with panic disorder and in a subset of patients with schizophrenia. Because of these phenomena, we believe there may be opportunities to stratify patients and also to employ these potential biomarkers to monitor treatment responses,” said Nicola Brice, Ph.D., director of neuroscience at Cerevance.

Cerevance chief business officer, Carrie Cook, noted, “We believe CVN766 may have an advantage over other Ox1R antagonists currently in development, given its extremely high selectivity against orexin 2.”  Cook added, “While dual orexin antagonists have previously been developed for sleep aid, we believe that CVN766’s selectivity against solely Ox1R could prove therapeutic in a range of psychiatric disorders.”

The Phase 1, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of escalating single and multiple doses of CVN766 in healthy subjects. The company expects to complete the Phase 1 study by year-end.

Cerevance is continuing to actively enroll patients in the Phase 1 study. To learn more about this trial, please visit

About Cerevance

Cerevance, a private, clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on brain diseases, is applying a new technology called NETSseq to reveal transcriptional and epigenetic differences between specific cell types in post-mortem human brain tissue acquired from donors whose ages varied from eight to 104 years old.   NETSseq profiles neuronal and glial cell populations at depths not possible with other approaches, generating unprecedented data sets and insights. The company has thus far partnered with more than 20 brain banks around the world to assemble a growing collection of more than 10,000 clinically annotated samples from healthy and diseased donors. By applying NETSseq to specific cell types critical to circuits disrupted by disease and comparing vulnerable and resilient cell populations, Cerevance’s scientists have begun identifying targets and advancing a pipeline of novel therapeutics that modulate them to treat CNS diseases.


Robert Middlebrook, +1-408-220-5722

Andrew Mielach,, +1-646-876-5868

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