Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have been awarded a $12 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse for their work on medications designed to help people recovering from opioid withdrawal syndrome and other addictions.
The team is testing a drug called texampanel. The IUSM researchers are working in conjunction with Proniras Corp., a Seattle-based biotechnology company, to develop a drug that can improve recovery from opioid addiction.
“The goal is to help psychiatric patients get breakthrough medications more rapidly than what traditional mechanisms have allowed,” said Dr. R. Andrew Chambers, addiction psychiatrist and neuroscientist in the IU School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.
Chambers said during the first two years of the five year study the team will study in a lab setting tezampanel’s effectiveness against opioid and benzodiazepine drugs, more commonly known as tranquilizers, which are often associated with opioid addictions and lethal overdoses.
If it receives federal regulatory approval for further testing, the IU School of Medicine team will then conduct the first controlled, clinical trial of the agent by administering tezampanel in people who are suffering from opioid addiction.
Together, the industry-academic collaboration hopes to increase the speed, scientific impact, and cost-effectiveness of new drug development and to improve the outcomes for patients addicted to opioids.