US Department of Defense grants funding for development of non-addictive opioid

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/	Ultima_Gaina)
(Image: Getty/ Ultima_Gaina)

Related tags Opioid epidemic Opioid Developmental biology

Phoenix PharmaLabs was awarded a $2.7m grant by the US Department of Defense for the development of PPL-103 a non-addictive opioid.

Bill Crossman, CEO of Phoenix PharmaLabs told us that this grant was a broad agency announcement​ grant, which aims to stimulate research and development sought after by the military.

PPL-103 is being developed to create a non-addicting opioid by acting on three opioid receptors.

Public health officials cite the current state of opioid usage to be an ‘opioid epidemic’​ with the National Institute on Drug Abuse​ stating that roughly 21% to 29% of individuals prescribed opioids misuse them, and between 8% and 12% develop an opioid use disorder.

According to Crossman, all leading potent opioid analgesics in use today bind the mu receptor in the brain and agonize that receptor leading to side effects.

“Phoenix has developed a novel family of New Molecular Entity (NME) opioids that have high binding affinity at all three opiate receptors in the brain: mu, kappa, and delta,”​ explained Crossman.

By binding to all three opioid receptors the drug can stimulate each one in a more balanced way to alleviate pain but do not create the euphoric feeling that is associated with opioids.

Crossman furthered, “PPL-103 derives potent analgesia primarily from mu and kappa, but does not stimulate those receptors so intensely that they trigger the negative side effects of either receptor.”

The company expects to file an innovative new drug (IND) application within the next 18 months. Crossman explained that although studies will still need to be conducted per the requirements for the IND, the company has already studied the risks that are most likely present problems relative to opioid reactions in humans.

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