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NIH Grant Awarded to Akelos Collaborator, Funds Work to Develop Non-Opioid Drugs for Neuropathic Pain

NEW YORK, October 4, 2019 ( - A grant from the National Institutes of Health awarded to a Weill Cornell Medicine investigator will bolster Akelos Inc.-supported research to develop a non-opioid alternative to treat chronic and neuropathic pain. Akelos Inc. is in a research collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine to develop this anti-hyperalgesic drug.

This award is under the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or the NIH Heal Initiative; the title of the grant is "Novel HCN1-selective small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of neuropathic pain." Peter Goldstein, MD, Akelos Inc. scientific founder and a professor of anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine, will serve as the project's principal investigator. Dr. Goldstein will work on the research with Gareth Tibbs, PhD, Akelos Inc. scientific founder and senior research associate in anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine; Dianna Willis, PhD, an assistant professor of neuroscience in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine, who received a grant sub-award; and J. David Warren, PhD, an associate professor of research in biochemistry. Drs. Goldstein, Tibbs, Willis and Warren are all members of Akelos Inc.'s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Goldstein is a named inventor on patents licensed to Akelos Inc. and Cornell University. Drs. Tibbs and Warren are equity stakeholders in Akelos Inc.

Neuropathic pain is a common clinical disorder for which treatment options are generally ineffective. Degradation of an individual's quality of life, combined with substantial societal and monetary costs, make this condition a significant and imminent public health threat. The immediate goal of this project is to determine if a novel small molecule alkylphenol that inhibits HCN1 channel function is antihyperalgesic when administered orally. In addition to focusing on the development of an oral drug, the long-term goal is to develop an injectable version of this drug using a monoclonal antibody, thereby creating an urgently needed, highly effective, non-opioid, treatment for neuropathic pain.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Peter Goldstein and his team have received this prestigious and highly competitive peer-reviewed award from the NIH," said Dr. Steven Fox, chairman of Akelos Inc. "Such support validates his innovative approach and emphasizes the importance of Akelos Inc.'s investment in research and development efforts to help solve this public health crisis."

This research is supported in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UG3NS114947, and the Weill Cornell Medicine Department of Anesthesiology. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Last Updated: 07-Oct-2019