New peptide pill will avoid opioid side effects
Author:Science and Technology Division, UK
Article Source:Adapted from: EPSRC _ 8 June 2012
Nanomerics has won its funding bid for £1.2 m towards groundbreaking research aimed at developing a new form of pain relief.
The award is part of a total £6.5m package given by the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to seven companies to develop new therapies and diagnostic technology which utilise nanotechnology and has been given to develop the new pain relief medication based on the technology. The Nanomerics led consortium comprises the UCL School of Pharmacy, AMTechnology Ltd. and the University of Exeter.
The new drug, the METDoloron peptide pill – based on peptides rather than opioids – avoids the sometimes serious side-effects of opioid-based drugs by targeting different receptors in the brain, and uses an agent which is produced by the body itself to control pain. Peptides are molecules produced by the body which can act as nature’s own ‘drugs’.
The global market in pain medication is currently worth $50bn annually. The development of the drug will address a vital unmet medical need for people who suffer chronic severe pain, much of which is inadequately controlled by opioid-based medication such as codeine and morphine.
The peptide pill utilizes Nanomerics’ Molecular Envelope Technology (MET), to enable the peptides within it – usually broken down by the body in the gut if ingested orally – to be absorbed by the body and provide effective pain relief.