Kineta Wins $1.1M Contract Develop Novel Non-Opioid Pain Drug Candidate for Wounded Soldiers
News Sep 29, 2015
Kineta, Inc. has announced the award of a $ 1.1 million contract from the US Army for further development of lead candidate CSP4, a novel peripherally acting treatment targeting chronic pain management. The contract, “Peripherally Acting, Non-Altering, Non-Addictive Pain Medicine for the War Fighter,” is for 18 months. In pre-clinical studies the drug candidate has shown effectiveness in alleviating several types of neuropathic pain including nerve injury, chemotherapy-induced pain as well as burn and inflammation-induced pain.
Chronic pain is a major challenge for injured service members, veterans and millions of others. Opioids are effective pain relievers for acute severe pain, but common neurological side effects include sedation, cognitive impairment, and respiratory depression. Prolonged use of opioid medicines frequently leads to loss of efficacy, addiction and abuse. In addition to service members and veterans, there are an estimated 116 million Americans affected by chronic pain syndromes.
“There is an urgent need for alternatives to opioids and anticonvulsants currently used to treat pain,” said Dr. Ernesto Muñoz, Director, Translational Immunology and Preclinical Development at Kineta. “The Kineta compounds could fill a huge void in our arsenal to control chronic pain. From battlefield wounds, chronic neuropathic pain including diabetic neuropathy to pain resulting from cancer treatments, Kineta’s analgesic drug candidates could represent a highly differentiated therapeutic alternative to what is on the market today. We look forward to initiating human clinical trials where we will test drug safety, tolerability and signs of initial efficacy,” Muñoz added.
Kineta’s CSP4 drug candidate works by inhibiting a novel, genetically validated pain target in the peripheral nervous system. Given its mechanism of action, this drug is not expected to induce chemical dependency, tolerance nor life-threatening side effects associated with opioids. CSP4 is an analog of the conopeptide RgIA, a small protein extracted from cone snail venom. Research conducted so far demonstrates that Kineta’s RgIA analogs are highly selective for their target and do not present significant off-target activity. The data also show no initial target organs of toxicity in animal toxicology studies. The award includes scientific collaborations with Drs. Michael McIntosh and Baldomero Olivera of the University of Utah (credited with co-discovering the analgesic effects of RgIA), and Dr. Marcie Fowler from the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research (Galveston TX). Dr. Fowler will conduct key experiments exploring the potential of these drugs to treat burnrelated pain and neuropathic pain resulting from nerve damage.