SAN DIEGO/PRNewswire/ -- Peptide Logic, a biopharmaceutical company developing peptide-antibody conjugates (PACs) for pain announced today that it was awarded a $ 2.9 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant (R44DA042634) from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop peripherally-restricted and long-acting kappa-opioid receptor (LA-KOR) agonists for moderate-to-severe pain.
"We are pleased with NIDA's continuing support of our efforts to develop an entirely novel drug class of peripherally-restricted and long-acting analgesics designed to replace opioids for moderate-to-severe pain," said Pierre Rivière, Ph.D., Founder & CEO of Peptide Logic and principal investigator on this grant.
"This award extends previous NIDA grants (R43DA042634; R43DA045410) that have established the feasibility of using our PAC technology to activate specific peripheral peptide G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), prioritized for their antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and/or disease-modifying properties, but neglected or untapped because conventional chemical or biological modalities could not be used to achieve the desired target product profiles."
"The award will be used to accelerate the development of our pain product pipeline starting with the selection of a first-in-class LA-KOR agonist clinical candidate, in collaboration with Professor Frank Porreca, Ph.D. at The University of Arizona. Our LA‑KOR agonists are designed for once-weekly dosing to maximize convenience, compliance and ultimately efficacy, making them ideally suited for chronic use in outpatient settings."
About Kappa-Opioid Receptors (KOR): KORs expressed in peripheral nociceptive neurons, immune cells, and synovial and cartilage tissue are emerging as a novel and attractive target for the treatment of pain and itch (pruritus). In clinical trials, activation of peripheral KORs has been shown to produce analgesia and opioid-sparing activity in postoperative pain, without any of the adverse effects of mu-opioid receptor (MOR) agonists. Separately, activation of peripheral KORs has also been shown to produce potent anti-itching activity in uremic pruritus. Because KORs are also expressed in the brain where they trigger adverse effects, it is necessary to prevent brain penetration when targeting peripheral KORs.
About Moderate-to-Severe Pain: MOR agonists remain the standard of care for moderate-to-severe pain. For lack of better options, the number of MOR agonist prescriptions, dose amount per prescription, and average length of treatment per prescription have all markedly increased in the US over the past thirty years. The resulting "prescription opioid epidemic" has become a major contributor to the dramatic opioid crisis impacting the US, therefore emphasizing the need for novel, safe, effective, and non-addictive analgesics.
About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is the lead federal agency supporting scientific research on drug use and its consequences. NIDA's mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health.