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Start-Up Company Receives $10.8M to Develop Cocaine & Nicotine Addiction Drug

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Start-Up Company Receives $10.8M to Develop Cocaine & Nicotine Addiction Drug

Start-Up Company Receives $10.8M to Develop Cocaine & Nicotine Addiction Drug
September 27
16:01 2017

Camino Pharma, LLC, a new start-up company focusing on finding cures for cancer and brain disorders, announced  that its Co-founder and Head of Drug Discovery, Nicholas Cosford, Ph.D., has been awarded a three-year, $10.8 million grant by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will fund a collaborative effort between the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Research Institute (SBP), UC San Diego and Camino Pharma, LLC to advance the preclinical development of a new class of medicine for the treatment of substance use disorders, including cocaine and nicotine addiction.

“It is an exciting opportunity for Camino Pharma to join forces with SBP and UC San Diego to translate many years of research into potential treatments for people affected by nicotine and cocaine addiction,” said Gonul Velicelebi, Ph.D., Co-founder & CEO of the Company. “The lead compound, SBP-0069330, and its analogs have favorable properties, which have the potential to become highly effective and safe drugs.”  SBP-0069330 can be administered orally, shows the ability to penetrate the brain, and reduces both cocaine and nicotine use and relapse in established models.

The grant will enable the multidisciplinary team of scientists to conduct the required preclinical studies to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application to initiate human clinical trials. “The founding team of Camino Pharma has deep expertise in the discovery and development of drugs for treating CNS disorders and a track-record of successfully moving new discoveries into the clinic,” Velicelebi stated. “This grant validates our research and allows us to pursue potential new therapeutics to address major public health problems.”

“A large body of experimental evidence suggests increased glutamate neurotransmission underlies cocaine and nicotine-seeking and relapse behavior,” noted Cosford, who is also a professor at SBP’s National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Center and director of Translational Research. “Our compounds reduce glutamate neurotransmission by targeting the metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu2) and potentially represent a new drug class.”

There are currently no FDA-approved medications for treatment of cocaine addiction, and cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer, as well as the largest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality among adults worldwide.

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