Reading: #147: Audrey Gruss (Using A Fragrance Business To Fund New Treatments For Depression)

#147: Audrey Gruss (Using A Fragrance Business To Fund New Treatments For Depression)

October 15 2021

“Depression is the number one reason in the world for disability,” says Audrey Gruss, Founder of and “Thirty-five percent of people don’t respond to the meds out there.” Gruss, who began her career as the assistant to the Medical Director at the Revlon Research Center, says that since 1985, every medication has been a spinoff of Prozac, which doesn’t work for everyone. One of those who Prozac failed was her mother, Hope, who had struggled with depression since her thirties. “It was called a nervous breakdown,” Gruss says. “It had a stigma.” When visiting her mother at the hospital Gruss would ask why there was no cure and why the top companies in the brain science business were not doing research. The answer she got: research “was too expensive and it was too lucrative to simply repurpose drugs.” After her mother passed away in 2005, Gruss, who had spent the majority of her career in the beauty sector working for name brands like Elizabeth Arden and creating the Doral Saturnia Spa in Miami, launched Hope Fragrances to fund her research foundation, Hope For Depression. “We put together a group of leaders in each discipline of neuroscience and cellular biology,” she says. “They are collaborating and sharing research. We are in clinical trials at Columbia University Medical Center and Mount Sinai with a brand new category of medications for people who don’t respond to Prozac.”