The health sciences company identified a panel of novel peptide constructs that selectively target certain opioid receptor subtypes.
The peptides are also highly potent and stable for extended periods in biological fluids, according to the Vancouver-based company.
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Current research is focused on the design, synthesis and cell-based screening of lead peptide constructs to develop non-addictive analgesics to replace highly addictive painkillers like morphine.
PreveCeutical’s team has identified five peptide constructs that target the receptor subtype of interest, which is reported to avoid addictive and tolerance-inducing side effects.
The advancement comes after a landmark decision at the end of August that saw drug maker Johnson & Johnson being ordered to pay US$572 million to the state of Oklahoma, which argued that the pharmaceutical giant deceptively marketed painkillers to an unwitting public and inadvertently caused a widespread opioid crisis.
PreveCeutical’s president and chief science officer Dr Mak Jawadekar stressed the need to find alternative treatment options to opioids to alleviate the health crisis caused by opioid addiction.
"In light of the recent news regarding some judgements and fines as a result of the lawsuits against certain opioid manufacturers and distributors that marketed and proliferated dangerous painkillers, PreveCeutical's successful advancement of the non-addictive analgesics (or) painkiller program provides great potential options for a safe and effective means to alleviate the current drug crisis situation,” Jawadekar said in a statement.
The company said it intends for its research program to progress to preclinical evaluations of the lead peptide candidates in a well-established model of pain and inflammation.
In other news, the company also announced that Matthew Coltura had resigned as a director and member of the audit committee effective September 1, 2019.
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