Kelai Pharmaceuticals & DoubleRainbow Biosciences Collaborate on Novel Natural Compound Therapeutics

Lexington, MA, Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- DoubleRainbow Biosciences (“Double Rainbow”), a sustainable biotech company harnessing bioengineering to improve the quality of human health, announced today a new research collaboration with Kelai Pharmaceuticals (“Kelai”) to explore the potential of biosynthetic kavalactone therapeutics. Kelai will include one of Double Rainbow’s molecules in their ongoing cell transcriptome study. Additionally, the two organizations will pair Kelai’s patented advanced drug delivery systems with the leading plant natural product biosynthesis capabilities of Double Rainbow to explore new opportunities for sustainable therapeutics.

Today, as many as 1 billion people worldwide are living with mental or substance use disorders.i Kelai Pharmaceutical specializes in the development of advanced drug delivery (ADD) technologies that utilize natural compounds such as those found in Kava (Piper methysticum) to develop innovative therapies for people living with addiction, mental health disorders, and related conditions. Using Double Rainbow’s proprietary HARMONYTM platform, the companies will leverage synthetic biology to help Kelai unlock the potential of these natural compounds through sustainable biosynthetic production.

“Synthetic biology offers a solution that supports Kelai’s intentions. As a company, our mission includes doing no harm in the name of doing good,” remarks Dr Jacqueline Jacques, Chief Executive Officer of Kelai Pharmaceutical. “The supply chain for a natural molecule could be exhausted with the creation of even one new drug. It’s an honor to engage with Double Rainbow on some of our early science. We feel very aligned with their team and their vision, and we hope that this discovery process leads to bigger developments in the future.”

Kava (Piper methysticum) belongs to the pepper family of plants and is native to parts of the South Pacific. Kava has been used for centuries in traditional cultures throughout the South Pacific. The plant’s reported relaxing effect, without associated cognitive impairment, makes it an ideal candidate for further research. Several recent studies have explored the potential of Kava in Generalized Anxiety Disorder, showing observed clinical effectsii, but more work is needed to understand the full therapeutic potential of Kava-based therapeutics.

"It’s an honor to collaborate with partners such as Kelai who are working to use potent medicinal plants to meaningfully improve the quality of life for hundreds of millions of people living with mental or substance use disorders,” said Jing-Ke Weng, Co-founder of DoubleRainbow Biosciences.  “At Double Rainbow, our goal is to leverage our technologies to pioneer the future of natural product bioengineering and create new opportunities to deliver safer, more effective therapies for patients around the world.”

HARMONYTM is a molecular biosynthesis platform that decodes the biosynthetic pathways of potent bioactive compounds and sustainably recreates them through synthetic biology. Double Rainbow is leveraging HARMONYTM to explore molecules across all kingdoms of life and revolutionize their global supply to create opportunities for sustainable use across pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and commercial applications.

Nature is a tremendous source of bioactive compounds that offer a wide range of medicinal benefits. These compounds have been explored and utilized in traditional medicine for centuries and underpin many modern therapeutics; however, any research seeking to leverage these potent natural products for largescale distribution must recognize the increasing threats to the global supply of medicinal plants. In Europe alone, more than 31% of medicinal plants are in or near decline, according to the European Red List, with overcollection being one of the primary drivers.iii Collaborations between organizations like Double Rainbow and Kelai to create new, sustainable sources for these critical compounds are vital to protecting the long-term health and wellbeing of both people and the planet.

About DoubleRainbow Biosciences

Double Rainbow is a sustainable biotech company harnessing the power of natural evolution through bioengineering to improve the quality of human health and ensure the sustainability of our planet. By leveraging advances in the areas of genomics, metabolomics, and synthetic biology we are accessing the richness and efficacy of natural chemistry like never before, to bring therapeutics to the world at scale without harming the environment. Learn more at

About Kelai Pharmaceutical

Kelai Pharmaceutical is a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company that brings together powerful natural molecules with patented Advanced Drug Delivery technology to create safe and effective new treatments for addiction and mental health disorders. As a strategic joint venture created by Thorne HealthTech and Mycrodose Therapeutics, Kelai leverages the resources, intellectual property, and human capital of both companies to focus on lean drug development and innovation for conditions with unmet or underserved needs. Learn more at

i Rehm J, Shield KD. Global Burden of Disease and the Impact of Mental and Addictive Disorders. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2019 Feb 7;21(2):10. doi: 10.1007/s11920-019-0997-0. PMID: 30729322.

ii Sarris, J., Kavanagh, D. J., Byrne, G., Bone, K. M., Adams, J., & Deed, G. (2009). The Kava Anxiety Depression Spectrum Study (KADSS): a randomized, placebo-controlled crossover trial using an aqueous extract of Piper methysticum. Psychopharmacology, 205(3), 399-407.

iii Summary of key findings. European Redlist — Environment — European Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved June 2, 2022, from

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