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One Step Closer: Novel Opioid Receptor Compound in Phase I Clinical Trials
Date:5/8/2009

TROY, N.Y., May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For more than 10 years, Mark Wentland, professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, led a Rensselaer team in the discovery of a family of novel opioid receptor compounds with the potential to treat nervous system disorders and addiction. The family of compounds was licensed to Alkermes Inc., and the company identified a lead product candidate from the library. Clinical trials with the candidate, known as ALKS 33, began in December 2008.

Wentland said the "eureka moment" occurred with the realization that an opioid drug that his group discovered had triggered significant, long-acting activity in the targeted area. This breakthrough held unusual promise for treating reward disorders and a number of diseases because of its long-lasting effect in animal tests.

"The broad goal of a medicinal chemist is to discover a drug that gets widespread use to treat human disease with an unmet therapeutic need," said Wentland, who performs both basic and applied research. With ALKS 33 now in clinical development, the team is one very important step closer to realizing that goal. "Medicinal chemistry, foremost among traditional approaches to drug discovery and development, retains its value in a high-tech world," noted Wentland, who joined Rensselaer from the pharmaceutical industry in 1994.

"This is a wonderful example of progress under The Rensselaer Plan in the areas of biotechnology and technology transfer that demonstrates Rensselaer's unique strength in its ability to translate scientific discoveries into practical application," said Ron Kudla, executive director of the Office of Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer and New Ventures at Rensselaer. "Most importantly, this is a testament to the fact that if the results of your research are going to have an impact on the public, it has to be patented in order to be commercializ
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SOURCE Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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