The goals of this study are to evaluate the efficacy of JNJ-18038683 in an 8 week trial to
ameliorate the cognitive deficit and reduce residual depressive symptoms in 60 stable
bipolar outpatients receiving treatment for depression. JNJ-18038683 will be studied and
compared with placebo as adjunctive treatment to standard pharmacologic treatment for
Most, but not all, patients with bipolar disorder (BPD) have clinically significant
cognitive impairment. Impairment is present in both the manic and depressed phases of BPD,
as well as in euthymic periods. The percentage of BPD patients with cognitive impairment
(CIBD) varies among studies, with 40-60% representing the best estimate. The weight of the
evidence supports no overall difference in the type and severity of cognitive impairment in
any phase of BPD, i.e. it is a stable trait feature of BPD, albeit variable from one patient
to another. The most commonly affected cognitive domains are speed of processing,
declarative memory, attention and working memory. Although CIBD is milder in severity than
the cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS), on average, as in
schizophrenia, CIBD has a major impact on function and quality of life in most patients,
particularly because the greater preservation of function of BPD enables them to engage in
activities which are more dependent on intact cognitive function. Thus, it is highly likely
that improvement in CIBD will have valuable clinical benefit, especially with regard to
quality of life measures. It is reasonable to predict that treatments effective to improve
CIBD could also be beneficial for CIAS. Efficacy for cognitive impairment is likely to be
greater in BPD than schizophrenia, because the baseline severity is milder in the former.
Despite this strong rationale for targeting CIBD, there has been minimal focus on clinical
trials to improve CIBD, perhaps because so many resources have been devoted to the effort to
treat CIAS, but lack of appreciation of the severity of CIBD and its importance as a
determinant of functional outcome in BPD may be the most important factors.
In a recent study of CIBD, using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB), impairment
was found in both treatment resistant BP I and II depressed inpatients within all MCCB
domains. The greatest impairment was evident in speed of processing, declarative memory and
attention. The impairment was numerically greater in BP I than BP II patients but the
difference was not significant. Compared to normal controls, the deficits, in BP 1 patients,
in speed of processing was 1.2SD, in attention, 1.0 SD, and in verbal learning, 1.8 SD. The
least affected domain was visual learning, with a mean deficit of 0.8SD compared to normal
controls. The mean composite score deficit was 1.25 SD. Medication for BPD, particularly
mood stabilizers, may adversely affect some domains of cognition in BPD. However,
antidepressant medications have not been found to affect the severity of cognitive
impairment in major depression or BPD.
Based on the pre-clinical, pro-cognitive effects of 5-HT7 antagonism in our laboratory,
along with the reported pre-clinical antidepressant effects of JNJ-18038683, we propose to
conduct a randomized, placebo- controlled parallel, design study to assess the effects of
JNJ-18038683 on multiple domains of cognition and mood symptoms. Since our preclinical
studies show that 5-HT7 receptor blockade is highly effective in improving declarative
memory in rodents, the declarative memory measures will be the primary outcome measures.
Due to the effect of JNJ-18038683 on depressive symptoms in preclinical paradigms, we will
investigate the following in the clinical trial the potential antidepressant effect of
JNJ-18038683 on patients with baseline MADRS score between 8 and 20.
1. All participants must have signed an informed consent document indicating they
understand the purpose of the study and the procedures required for the study and are
willing to participate by complying with the study procedures and restrictions.
2. Male or female subjects of any race; between 18 to 60 years of age, inclusive.
3. Resides in a stable living situation, according to the investigator's judgment.
4. Diagnosis of bipolar disorder I or II for at least 1 year in duration, as established
by the SCID-I, and verified with medical records and/or confirmation of diagnosis by
treating clinician. Patients will be in a nonacute phase at the time of initial
screening and have been so for at least 1 month.
5. No more than moderate clinical symptom burden severity, as defined by the following:
- Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale < 20
- Young Mania Rating Scale <12
6. Subjects medically stable enough to complete an 8 week clinical trial, in the
judgment of the investigator
7. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test at screening and
baseline, and agree to use adequate protection (i.e. double barrier method) for birth
8. Antidepressant (AD) medications are allowed if the subject has been treated with a
stable dose for at least 2 months before screening.
9. Subjects receiving a single mood stabilizer (e.g., lithium. valproate, or lamictal)
are allowed if a stable dose has been maintained for at least 2 months prior to
10. Subjects may be receiving one treatment of each the following groups:
antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and atypical antipsychotics (that are not 5-HT7
antagonists; see Appendix 2), but not more than one from each group.
11. Patients with a history of compliance with a drug treatment regimen for bipolar
disorder, as noted in medical/psychiatric history.
12. Able to complete cognition assessments in English
13. Subjects must demonstrate a substantive cognitive deficit, as measured by the Trails
A and Hopkins Verbal Learning Test (HVLT) administered at the screening visit.
Eligible subjects will have an established cognitive deficit as measured by both of
these tests, falling between the 25th and 75th percentile, using comparative norms
according to age, gender, and education.
14. Able to understand and complete cognition assessments
1. Failure to perform screening or baseline examinations
2. Hospitalization within 8 weeks before screening, or change in mood stabilizing or
antidepressant medication or dose within 2 months prior to screening
3. Subjects who have participated in another clinical study within the past 2 months.
4. Subjects with tardive dyskinesia.
5. Subjects with other DSM-V Axis I or Axis II primary diagnoses.
6. Diagnosis of alcohol or substance use disorder within the past 3 months.
7. Subject assessed to be at significant suicide risk based on responses to the Columbia
Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS).
8. History of myocardial infarction, unstable angina, uncontrolled hypotension or
hypertension within 3 months before screening.
9. Clinically significant abnormality on screening ECG.
10. Alanine transaminase (ALT) or aspartate transaminase (AST) > 2.5 times the upper
limit of normal (ULN).
11. History of stroke, brain tumor, head trauma with loss of consciousness, or other
clinically significant neurological condition within 12 months before screening.
12. Subjects with other uncontrolled medical conditions, in the opinion of the
13. Atypical antipsychotic drugs which are 5-HT7 antagonists, , e.g. risperidone,
lurasidone and clozapine, are not permitted but other antipsychotic drugs which lack
5-HT7 antagonism, e.g. olanzapine and quetiapine, will be permitted if the subjects
are on a stable dose for at least 6 months prior to study onset.
14. Use of drugs known to be metabolized by CYP2D6 (see Appendix 2)
15. Use of CNS stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin)