A Look at Sage Therapeutics’ NMDA Receptor Portfolio

NMDA products

As discussed earlier, Sage Therapeutics (SAGE) is focused on the development of products for the treatment of life-threatening central nervous system (or CNS) disorders. The products under development include SAGE-718 and SAGE-904.

A Look at Sage Therapeutics’ NMDA Receptor Portfolio

The above chart shows details about products under development in the NMDA receptor program.

NMDA receptor

There are three types of ionotropic glutamate receptors:

  • NMDA (or N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor
  • Kainic acid receptor
  • AMPA (Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid) receptor

Sage Therapeutics has developed products such as SAGE-718 and SAGE-904 that target the NMDA receptor.


SAGE-718, the first compound outside the GABA receptor program from Sage, is an oxysterol-based positive allosteric modulator of the NMDA receptor.

SAGE-718 is under phase one clinical study for the treatment of cerebrosterol deficit disorders and also for anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and other indications that involve NMDA receptor hypofunction.

SAGE-718 was developed as a once-daily dosage compound. The phase one single ascending dose (or SAD) trial is a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety, tolerance, and pharmacokinetics as well as pharmacodynamics effects of the drug when administered orally once a day to adults. Sage plans to begin the phase one multiple ascending dose trial for the evaluation of SAGE-718 in 2018.


SAGE-904 is the second compound developed by Sage using its NMDA receptor program. SAGE-904 is a positive allosteric modulator, but the drug has a differentiated pharmacologic and pharmacokinetic profile as compared to SAGE-718. Sage has initiated the IND-enabling studies for SAGE-904.

The iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology ETF (IBB) holds 0.9% of its total portfolio in Sage Therapeutics (SAGE), 0.9% in Bluebird Bio (BLUE), 1.5% in Seattle Genetics (SGEN), and 1.7% in Incyte (INCY).