Propofol is used off-label in hospitals to treat uncontrolled seizures, but its potent sedative properties preclude everyday use. Tansna Therapeutics Inc. is developing non-sedating analogs of propofol that could help treat the one-third of epilepsy patients who are refractory to marketed maintenance therapies.

Scientific founder Max Baker, associate professor in the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Iowa, was actually looking for a sedative with faster recovery. But his MB003, a para-substituted analog of propofol, turned out to be a poor anesthetic.