contact us


Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first line pharmacotherapy in depression but only one third of patients will recover with this treatment. Improved forms of antidepressant treatment are urgently needed. One promising way is to elevate serotonin levels to beyond what SSRIs are capable of, by using adjunctive 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is an amino acid that is essential for serotonin biosynthesis in the brain. However 5-HTP makes a poor oral drug because it is rapidly metabolized and has a very short half-life. We aim to overcome this by developing a 5-HTP drug that will provide a steady release of 5-HTP over time; a 5-HTP sustained release (SR) drug.

Project Deliverables

The SR formulations we intend to use are broadly classified as either colon-dependent or colon-independent. Colon absorption of 5-HTP will be compared against upper gastrointestinal absorption to determine which SR formulation would best suit 5-HTP SR drug development.

Principal Investigator: Dr Johnson FAM

Institution: National University Health System

NHIC Ref: NHIC-I2D-1503044



See all BIOPHARMA projects >

An In-office Trachealesophageal Puncture, Prosthesis Sizing and Insertion Device

Total laryngectomy involves the removal of a patient’s voice box and results in the loss of voici...

A Force Sensor to Deliver Optimal Cricoid Pressure for Airway Protection

Cricoid pressure refers to the finger pressure applied over the cricoid cartilage on the neck dur...


Diagnosis and management of neurological disorders relies on visual review of electroencephalogra...

Novel inhibitors for Natural Killer/T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL)

The Natural Killer/T-cell lymphoma (NKTCL) is a subtype of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) which is...

Towards a Novel Drug Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Adjunct 5-HTP Slow-Release

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global...

Natriuretic peptide analogues for heart failure patients

Natriuretic peptide analogues with vasodilatory or renal activities for personalized care of hear...


Clinical Partners

nhg logonuhs logosinghealth


Academic Partners

lkc medicalnus faculty of dentistrynus sphnus somduke nus


Supporting Partners

bms ipodxdipinmrcSCRIseriSMARTEnterpriseSGCatalystSingaporeBioDesign