The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) unit National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has granted an award of $9m for researchers to advance drug, SBP-9330, to treat nicotine addiction.
Researchers at Camino Pharma, Sanford Burnham Prebys and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine received the three-year grant.
The funds will facilitate longer toxicology studies and drug production of SBP-9330 for planned Phase II studies.
SBP-9330 is a small molecule that was discovered by Dr. Nicholas Cosford and his team at Sanford Burnham Prebys.
This drug targets the metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGlu2), thereby lowering glutamate levels.
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter associated with nicotine addiction and relapse behaviour.
The drug operates through a mechanism, distinct from current treatments, and could become the first of its kind to aid individuals in quitting smoking.
The drug’s Phase I clinical testing, which was funded by an earlier $11.4m NIDA grant, completed recently. It was designed to assess the tolerability, safety, and pharmacokinetics of the drug and inform dosing for further studies.
Data from this study showed SBP-9330’s safety and tolerability in both smoking and nonsmoking human subjects.
With the latest grant, Camino Pharma will oversee the extended toxicology studies, Sanford Burnham Prebys will manage drug production and formulation while UC San Diego School of Medicine will provide expertise for the Phase II clinical programme design.
Camino Pharma CEO and co-founder Gonul Velicelebi said: “Our Phase I study results showed that SBP-9330 has a favourable safety and tolerability profile and well-behaved pharmacokinetics in humans, supporting further clinical development and evaluation of the compound in a proof-of-concept study in smokers as an aid to smoking cessation.
“We are grateful to NIDA for their sustained support of the SBP-9330 programme from preclinical through the clinical stage, awarding three consecutive U01 grants, totaling $31.2m and underscoring the vital importance of public funding for addiction treatments.”