Remedies for pain have progressed beyond the one recommended in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where the renowned playwright wrote, “One pain is lessened by another; catch some new infection… and the poison of the old one will die.” Today, a variety of treatment options are available to the sufferer. Alas, many of these come bundled with pernicious side effects and the risk of addiction, making the remedy, in the long term, worse than the ailment. With NeuroRelease™, Cambridge, Massachusetts-based PixarBio Corporation (OTCQX: PXRB) is offering the possibility of release not only from pain but also from dependence on painkillers.
Pain is a ubiquitous phenomenon that pervades our lives from cradle to grave. We bear its lesser manifestations with a grimace or a smile, but, in many instances, analgesics are needed to free us from the greatest torments. For centuries, extracts from opium, derived from the poppy plant, have served that purpose. Perhaps, the most significant of these extracts or alkoloids is morphine, named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams.
Morphine, in one form or another, has been used to ease pain since it was isolated from raw opium in 1805. Before that time, a number of preparations, such as laudanum, a solution of opium in alcohol, were employed as painkillers. Morphine is, however, treacherously addictive. Its use during the American Civil War turned large numbers of wounded veterans into addicts. This spurred the search for less addictive analgesics and the employment of weaker opiates such as codeine, which was widely used, at one time, in cough medications.
The quest for less addictive opiates, ironically, led to the discovery of more addictive ones. The German chemist, Felix Hoffman, developed heroin while working in the pharmaceutical research department of what is now Bayer AG. Bayer actually manufactured and sold bottles of heroin medicine in the first decade of the twentieth century (http://dtn.fm/Fw8dD).
In 1909, the U.S. Congress passed the Smoking Opium Exclusion Act, which banned the importation, possession and use of ‘smoking opium’. The statute still allowed for the use of opium-based ‘medications’, however. It was actually the first federal law banning the non-medical use of a substance.
Since that time, a number of FDA-approved drugs have made their appearance, including Vicodin in 1984, OxyContin in 1995 and Percocet in 1999. These are, essentially, all synthetic opiates and, like their natural cousins, are just as addictive. As a result, opioid addiction has mushroomed into a national crisis. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (http://dtn.fm/2qeUg) has stated that “more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record, and the majority of drug overdose deaths (more than six out of ten) involved an opioid.”
This frightening scenario makes PixarBio’s NeuroRelease™ a welcome addition to the analgesic arsenal. NeuroRelease™ is a morphine replacement, non-addictive pain platform for the surgical and hospital setting, for the battlefield, and for the alleviation of acute and chronic pain in general. The first product FDA approval for the platform is expected to be a 14-day post-surgical pain treatment, and the company anticipates commercial approval for this indication in late 2018.
PixarBio is a specialty pharmaceutical and biotech company focused on pre-clinical and clinical commercial development of novel neurological drug delivery systems for post-operative pain. The company researches and develops targeted delivery systems for drugs, devices, or biologics to treat pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and spinal cord injury. Its lead product platform, NeuroRelease™, has achieved sustained therapeutic release of non-opiate drugs for post-operative, acute and chronic pain in pre-clinical models.
For more information, visit www.PixarBio.com