Apeiron Biologics will work with Evotec to identify small molecule modulators of DREAM (downstream regulatory element antagonistic modulator), a target involved in perception of pain. Evotec will initially apply its expertise in cellular assay development with opportunities for the project to move into hit identification and beyond.
DREAM reportedly inhibits the synthesis of the endogenous opioid precursor prodynorphin by binding on the respective DNA-promoter region. The companies thus believe it may represent a new target for the treatment of pain.
In DREAM knock-out mice, pain was reduced, ranging from acute chemical, heat, or mechanical to internal, inflammatory, and chronic neuropathic pain, the firms report. Substances that release DREAM from the respective DNA and thereby activate the synthesis of the endogenous opioid precursor prodynorphin are not analgesics per se, but they trigger the production of endogenous opioids in the treated individual.