12:00 AM
Apr 29, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Avilex: One-two pain punch

Avilex's dimeric inhibitor shows greater potency for pain target PSD95

Avilex Pharma ApS may have found a way to block activation of the NMDA receptor pathway to treat chronic pain and ischemic stroke. Rather than directly hitting the receptor itself, the approach targets a downstream player in the pathway and thus could avoid many of the side effects of NMDA receptor antagonists.

The NMDA receptor is expressed on the surface of many CNS cell types and is known to mediate production of excess nitric oxide (NO), which leads to neuronal excitotoxicity and the development of neuropathic and chronic pain as well as nerve damage following ischemic stroke.

While blocking activation of the receptor's pathway is predicted to have a therapeutic effect in those disorders, how to best achieve that blockade has remained unclear. Small molecule antagonists of the NMDA receptor have so far shown little promise because that target plays a key role in several CNS pathways. Those compounds have thus been associated with severe cognitive and...

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