EnVivo Pharmaceuticals has announced the initiation and dosing of patients in a Phase 2b study of its EVP-6124 compound, designed to reduce cognitive deterioration in patients with schizophrenia.

The three-month placebo-controlled study in the US and Europe will examine if EVP-6124 can produce both cognitive and clinical improvement in schizophrenic patients, who typically exhibit significant cognitive impairment.

EnVivo president and CEO Kees Been said that the cognitive impairment in schizophrenia was not effectively treated with present antipsychotic medications.

“There is growing consensus that alpha-7 nicotinic agonists can potentially improve the cognitive function in patients,” he said.

Previous studies have shown EVP-6124, which is a selective agonist for the alpha-7 subtype of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, to have good CNS penetration, oral bioavailability, pharmacokinetics and metabolic profile.

A previous study in chronic schizophrenia patients on stable long-term antipsychotic medications also demonstrated that it was well tolerated and produced significant effects on a variety of electrophysiologic measures of brain function assessing sensory processing and working memory formation.