A University of Arizona Drug Discovery, When Combined with Known Opioids, Can Eliminate the Addictive Qualities of Opioid Drugs Without Diminishing Pain Relief – PRNewswire

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Nov 11, 2021, 13:10 ET
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TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Dr. Rajesh Khanna, a pain medication researcher at the University of Arizona, and founder of pain therapeutic research company Regulonix, has discovered a novel analgesic called Regulonix Compound 194. The prestigious medical journal, Science Transitional Medicine, considers the discovery a high impact breakthrough and published the lab study results in their November 10, 2021 issue.
A potential game-changing feature of Compound 194 is that it can be combined with low-doses of Morphine, virtually eliminating the opioid’s addictive qualities, without diminishing its ability to relieve pain. The preclinical studies from Dr. Khanna’s lab validate the efficacy of Compound 194 in animal models of pain. When it was combined with a low, non-addictive dose of synthetic opioids, it proved to be as effective in relieving pain but without the side effects and addictive qualities of drugs like Percocet, Demerol, Oxycontin, Tramadol, Morphine, and others.
Opioid addiction and abuse are a worldwide crisis, classified by the World Health Organization as a Global Epidemic. The number of opioid overdoses has increased in recent years in several countries, in part due to the increased use of opioids in the management of chronic pain. In the United States of America, the number of people dying from opioid overdose increased by 120% between 2010 and 2018, and two-thirds of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 in the USA involved synthetic opioids, including fentanyl and its analogues. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a further substantial increase in drug overdose deaths was reported in the USA, primarily driven by rapid increases in overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids. In 2020, an estimated 10.1 million US citizens aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. Billions of dollars are being allocated by HHS to fight the opioid crisis, with very little impact.
While other non-addictive alternatives have been developed, none of them have the pain relief strength of a synthetic opioid, which remains one of the most addictive and most often prescribed drugs in world use.
Dr. Khanna’s experiments in rodents show that a non-addictive opioid dose can be combined with his patented Regulonix compound 194, maintain the pain relief profile of the opioid but eliminate its addictive attributes.
"This is a breakthrough in the management of opioid use and, moreover, abuse. If the human data follows the results in small animals, morphine and similar drugs could be rendered virtually harmless, while maintaining the pain relief attributes of the original drug," said Flecther J. McCusker, CEO and Founder of UAVenture Capital, the Tucson based risk capital firm that funded the company.
"Having worked with the team for a number of years to advance this research toward market readiness, we’re thrilled for this news and the implications for the startup," said Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president of Tech Launch Arizona. "In light of the nation’s opioid addiction crisis, the potential impact is monumental."
Regulonix and UAVC have retained Bank America Merrill Lynch and Synergy Advisors to advise the company on strategic alternatives given the worldwide importance of the discovery.
About Regulonix:
Regulonix is an early-stage biotechnology company developing non-opioid therapeutics that relieve chronic pain. By targeting the well-established and genetically validated pain target NaV1.7 sodium channel and focusing on the signaling pathways that control channel activity, the Regulonix team has isolated compounds demonstrated in animal models to be non-addictive and improve the effectiveness of morphine and other opioids. This unique platform helps address a global pain management therapeutics market affecting more than 100 million Americans and 1.5 billion people globally.
About Tech Launch Arizona:
TLA teams with University of Arizona faculty, administration, students, and alumni, in concert with the technology and business community, to maximize the impact of UArizona research, intellectual property (IP) and technological innovation.
The University of Arizona is a place of learning, invention, and discovery. At Tech Launch Arizona, they help bring those discoveries to the world through commercial pathways. Their primary focus is ensuring that innovations originating with UArizona faculty, researchers, staff, and students find meaningful applications.
About UAVenture Capital:
UAVenture Capital Fund is a Tucson based investment fund designed specifically to help finance University of Arizona connected enterprises including the commercialization of faculty led innovations originating at the University of Arizona. The fund provides early-stage capital to companies where the science or service array was pioneered by faculty members, students and/or colleagues at the University of Arizona, one of the top research universities in the world.
SOURCE UAVenture Capital
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