A Randomized, Double-blind, Multicenter, Parallel-group, Placebo-controlled Study to Evaluate the Efficacy, Safety, and Tolerability of Aticaprant 10 mg as Adjunctive Therapy in Adult Participants With Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) With Moderate-to-severe Anhedonia and Inadequate Response to Current Antidepressant Therapy (VENTURA-1)

  • End date
    Aug 11, 2024
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Janssen Research & Development, LLC
Updated on 14 October 2022


The purpose of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of aticaprant compared with placebo as adjunctive therapy to an antidepressant in improving depressive symptoms in adult participants with major depressive disorder (MDD) with moderate-to-severe anhedonia (ANH+) who have had an inadequate response to current antidepressant therapy with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).


Depression is a common and serious psychiatric disorder which is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is associated with elevated mortality and suicide risk. Aticaprant (JNJ-67953964) is a once daily, highly selective kappa opioid receptor (KOR) antagonist, with demonstrated selectivity over mu opioid receptor (MOR) and delta opioid receptor (DOR) being developed for adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) with moderate-to-severe anhedonia (ANH+). The study consists of a screening phase (up to 30 days prior to randomization), double-blind treatment phase (43 days), and follow-up phase (up to 14 days). The total duration of the study will be up to 87 days. Safety evaluations including adverse events, physical examinations, urine drug test, alcohol breath tests, and clinical laboratory tests will be assessed at specific time points during this study.

Condition Depressive Disorder, Major, Anhedonia
Treatment Placebo, Aticrapant
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT05455684
SponsorJanssen Research & Development, LLC
Last Modified on14 October 2022


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Inclusion Criteria

Be medically stable on the basis of physical examination, medical history, vital signs, and 12-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) performed at screening and baseline
Have a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 17 item (HDRS-17) total score of 20 or higher at the first and second screening interviews and must not demonstrate a clinically significant improvement between the first and the second independent HDRS-17 assessments
Meet Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5th edition (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for recurrent or single episode major depressive disorder (MDD), without psychotic features, based upon clinical assessment and confirmed by the structured clinical interview for DSM-5 Axis I disorders-clinical trials version (SCID-CT). Participants 65 years of age or older must have had the first onset of depression prior to 55 years of age
Is currently receiving and tolerating well any one of the following selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) for depressive symptoms at screening, in any formulation and available in the participating country/territory: citalopram, duloxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, milnacipran, levomilnacipran, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine at a stable dose for at least 6 weeks and with some minor to moderate symptomatic improvement. The current antidepressant cannot be the first antidepressant treatment for the first lifetime episode of depression
Participant's current major depressive episode, and antidepressant treatment response in the current depressive episode, must all be confirmed by the site independent qualification assessment

Exclusion Criteria

Participant has lack of clinically meaningful improvement to the current SSRI/SNRI (that is, the one presumed to be continued in the treatment phase) assessed using the Massachusetts General Hospital Antidepressant Treatment Response Questionnaire (MGH ATRQ)
Has a history or evidence of clinically meaningful noncompliance with current antidepressant therapy
Has a history of moderate-to-severe substance use disorder including alcohol use disorder according to DSM-5 criteria within 6 months before screening
Has within the last 5 years received any prior antidepressant treatment with ketamine/esketamine, electroconvulsive therapy, vagal nerve stimulation, or a deep brain stimulation device
Has current, or a history (past 6 months), of seizures
Has a current homicidal ideation/intent, per the investigator's clinical judgment, or has suicidal ideation with some intent to act within 3 months prior to the start of the Screening Phase, per the investigator's clinical judgment or based on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), corresponding to a response of "Yes" on Item 4 or Item 5, or a history of suicidal behavior within the past 6 months prior to the start of the Screening Phase. Participants reporting suicidal ideation with intent to act or suicidal behavior at baseline should be excluded
Has one or more of the following diagnoses: a) A DSM-5 diagnosis (which has been the primary focus of psychiatric treatment within the past 2 years) of any of the following: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobia; b) A current (in the past year) DSM-5 diagnosis of: obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa; c) A current or prior (lifetime) DSM-5 diagnosis of: a psychotic disorder or MDD with psychotic features, bipolar or related disorders, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorders, somatoform disorders
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