PharmNovo’s preclinical results on opioid receptor

Indicates capacity to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms

The latest results in the animal models also suggest the possibility of addressing the distressing symptoms linked to opioid withdrawal syndrome.

PharmNovo, a Swedish pharmaceutical company developing neuropathic pain treatment, has announced promising preclinical results for drug candidate PN6047. It is a new type of selective delta opioid receptor agonist intended to provide safe and effective neuropathic pain relief without the adverse side effects of conventional opioids, the company said.

The candidate does not show abuse potential in animal models and also indicates a capacity to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms. The results reinforce the candidate’s safety profile ahead of 2024 clinical phase II trials.

The results of the preclinical studies, conducted in collaboration with researchers from Washington University and the University of Michigan and financially supported by the US National Institute of Drug Abuse, have shown promise. Two key outcomes were identified for the drug candidate PN6047 in the preclinical studies:

No abuse potential: PN6047 displayed no signs of abuse potential in animal models, marking a notable departure from conventional opioids.

Alleviates the opioid withdrawal syndrome: PN6047 mitigated symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal in animal models.

These results provide additional support for the drug candidate’s positive safety profile. Earlier animal studies have demonstrated potency, safety, and efficacy without affecting the receptors typically associated with addiction to conventional opioids and without the typical unwanted side effects of other non-selective opioids.

The latest results in the animal models also suggest the possibility of addressing the distressing symptoms linked to opioid withdrawal syndrome. This could potentially pave the way for a transformative market opportunity in opioid withdrawal management.

“Our mission has always been clear—to redefine pain management and offer safe and effective solutions. We are excited about these outcomes in the animal studies that underscore our dedication to providing effective pain relief with minimal risk of addiction and other unwanted and potentially life-threatening side effects,” says Per von Mentzer, CEO of PharmNovo.

“Our preclinical research on PN6047 has delivered compelling evidence. The animal studies suggest the ability of our drug candidate to be free of abuse potential. Furthermore, the studies showed promise in mitigating symptoms of the opioid withdrawal syndrome. This represents a significant scientific breakthrough,” says David Kendall, Chief Scientific officer at PharmNovo.

About PN6047 – mechanism of action

The opioid crisis remains a pressing concern in the USA and Europe due to the misuse of traditional opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl, known for their high addictiveness.

PharmNovo says it aims to provide a safer and more effective alternative for managing neuropathic pain.

Unlike conventional opioids, PN6047 does not affect the mu-opioid receptor. While the mu-opioid receptor is known for relieving acute pain and may lead to addiction and severe side effects, PN6047 selectively targets the delta receptor. This targeting approach has demonstrated effective reversal of neuropathic pain in animal models.

The high selectivity of PN6047 for the delta receptor, combined with its biased signalling, represents a completely novel approach. This innovative strategy holds the potential for effective pain relief while avoiding unwanted side effects.

PN6047 is expected to enter phase II clinical trials in patients with neuropathic pain in 2024.

PharmNovo AB is a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing safe and effective drugs for neuropathic pain. The company’s drug candidate, PN6047, effectively reduces neuropathic pain in animal models. The company also sees clinical potential in other areas; chronic cough and opioid withdrawal syndrome (OWS). 

PharmNovo, headquartered in Medicon Village in Lund, Sweden, was founded in 2008 by Dr Bengt von Mentzer.


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