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.