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

ed."

Therapeutic opportunity

In September 2006, Rensselaer signed a licensing agreement granting Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Alkermes exclusive rights to a library of compounds discovered by Wentland and his team.

According to Alkermes, the library represents an opportunity for the company to develop numerous products as important therapeutics for the treatment of a broad range of diseases and medical conditions, including addiction, pain, and other nervous system disorders. Alkermes screened the library of compounds from Rensselaer and is responsible for the continued research and development of any resulting product candidates.

This year, Alkermes held its Research and Development Day meeting for analysts and investors in Cambridge, Mass., on April 7 and provided an overview of its product candidates, including ALKS 33. Preclinical studies of ALKS 33 suggested that it was not readily metabolized by the liver, a unique advantage over existing oral therapies for addiction. According to the company, initiation of the phase 1 trial of ALKS 33 was based on the compound's potential for a superior pharmacokinetic profile and the compound's pharmacological properties relative to other commercial opioid antagonists.

According to Alkermes, data from the phase 1 study of ALKS 33 showed that the compound is absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream, and has a pharmacokinetic profile that could support once-daily dosing.

"This latest discovery is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists and biologists," Wentland said. "In the process, we are working together to identify novel therapies to treat human diseases and find possible solutions that work. Most importantly, this discovery allows us to see the significant role that biotechnology plays in improving health, creating new materials for myriads of applications, and addressing some of the w
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SOURCE Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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