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Jan 3, 2007

Epix Secures Patent Related to a GPCR Agonist

  • Epix Pharmaceuticals was issued a patent that covers the class of selective 5-HT1A binding compounds, pharmaceutical compositions containing them, and specific compounds, including PRX-00023. Epix is developing PRX-00023 for the treatment of depression.

    “This patent is further validation of Epix’ ability to synthesize and develop novel drugs that modulate promising GPCR drug targets, such as the 5-HT1A receptor,” says Michael G. Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., CEO.

    With PRX-00023, which entered clinical trials in February 2004, the company is targeting a commercial opportunity for a selective, once-daily agonist of the specific GPCR known as 5-HT1A that avoids the sexual dysfunction and sleep disorders associated with SSRIs, lacks the addictive and sedative effects of the benzodiazepines, and does not have the slow onset, short half-life, and side effects of a chemical class of 5-HT1A agonists called azapirones. “We look forward to continuing to advance the clinical development of PRX-00023 into a Phase IIb clinical trial in major depression in the first half of this year," states Dr. Kauffman.

    In December 2006, Epix entered a strategic worldwide collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline for four of its GPCR targets, including PRX-03140 for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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