Circuit Therapeutics Inc.'s first deal provides a glimpse into how the biotech views the future of psychiatry therapeutics - a space focused on clusters of linked symptoms rather than indications. Partner Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH is an early adopter of Circuit's technology, which uses light to activate and deactivate individual circuits of animal brains and induce behavioral changes in real time.

In December, the companies began a three-year collaboration to use Circuit's optogenetic technology to screen for compounds to treat psychiatric disorders. The biotech received an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible for undisclosed milestones, plus royalties.