PIONEERING A NEW APPROACH TO THE OPIOID CRISIS

The Opioid Crisis

Opioids are useful in controlling pain, but are subject to abuse. Even in a non-abuse setting they carry significant risks, including:

  • Potentially fatal respiratory and cardiovascular reactions
  • Possible weaponization and use by terrorists
  • Overdose / dependence / addiction / tolerance
  • Gastrointestinal (motility) disruption

Opioid-induced side effects have created unmet medical needs of crisis proportion, affecting millions of people annually.

THE PROBLEM: OIRD

46% of patients receiving opioids during and following surgery experience opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD)*:

  • OIRD is a life-threatening side effect of opioids characterized by respiratory depression or cardiac collapse
  • It affects millions of hospital patients every year
  • OIRD extends hospital stays by 3 days on average
  • Longer hospitalization increases costs by over $6,000
  • Our solution addresses a $1 billion market

OIRD in hospitalized patients is Atelerix’s first target indication for opioid-related unmet medical needs.

* Source: Medtronic Prodigy Study, 2020

THE PROBLEM: WEAPONIZATION

The opioid crisis has a new and even uglier dimension – weaponization – and the focused funding interest of the NIH and the United States military.

“These public health threat agents are highly toxic chemicals that could cause mass casualties after either deliberate terrorism-related release or inadvertently.”

– National Institutes of Health

Russian special forces soldiers are seen carrying out hostages killed by a highly potent weaponized opioid in a Moscow theatre after a three-day stand off with Chechen terrorists.

(Credit: Anton Denisov/AFP/Getty Images)

THE PROBLEM: ADDICTION / TOLERENCE / OVERDOSE / WITHDRAWAL

Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) have become a massive crisis, approaching 40,000 in 2019, and growing since COVID-19 :

Atelerix’s novel approach to opioid-induced unmet medical needs could potentially diminish the number of opioid-related deaths

CURRENT APPROACHES FALL SHORT

The FDA-approved opioid receptor antagonists such as naloxone can reverse the most serious life-threatening opioid-induced side effects, but they:

  • Also reverse the analgesic effect, leaving patients in pain
  • Often elicit immediate, dangerous withdrawal behavior
  • Are short-acting, requiring continuous re-administration and are only weakly effective against synthetic opioids like fentanyl
  • Cannot combat opioid metabolites, which often do not work via opioid receptors
  • Do nothing to modulate addiction/tolerance/withdrawal

Most ongoing research to minimize opioid-induced side effects is focused on direct targeting of opioid receptors – these efforts have largely not been successful. 

THE SOLUTION: NEW APPROACH, NEW SCIENCE

A platform of novel drugs called Active Thiol-Based Compounds (ATBCs) can prevent or reverse opioid-induced side effects:

  • These drugs target novel molecular pathways – modulating the signaling downstream from activated opioid receptors
  • NIH-supported discovery and pre-clinical development have validated the concept, with compelling data supporting a robust pipeline of novel proprietary lead compounds
  • These new drugs are now being developed for the clinic to treat opioid-induced side effects

Atelerix Life Sciences Inc. is driving this new approach in cooperation with the drugs’ co-inventors, their colleagues, the NIH, and other experts worldwide