BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cerecor Inc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing treatments to make a difference in the lives of patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders, today announced that it has acquired exclusive, worldwide rights from Eli Lilly and Company ("Lilly") to develop and commercialize LY2456302 (which will be designated as CERC-501), a Phase 2-ready, potent and selective kappa opioid receptor (KOR) antagonist. KORs are believed to play a key role in modulating stress, mood and addictive disorders. Research also suggests that selective KOR antagonists can block both the physical and emotional symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
CERC-501 was discovered and developed by Lilly for the treatment of co-occurring disorders, defined as a patient having one or more disorders relating to substance abuse combined with one or more mental health disorders. In Phase 1 clinical studies, CERC-501 was well tolerated, penetrated the blood-brain barrier and demonstrated target engagement, as shown through PET (positron emission tomography) imaging.
"Evidence of human kappa receptor binding coupled with unique competitive positioning and broad development potential make CERC-501 a key addition to Cerecor's pipeline, strengthening our position in the development of novel neuroscience compounds for underserved neurological and psychiatric disorders," said Dr. Blake Paterson, Cerecor's co-founder and CEO. "Clinicians, patients and families who struggle with mood and addictive disorders will recognize the need for more effective treatments, and we plan to initially develop CERC-501 to address nicotine dependence."
"CERC-501 is a potential first-in-class, best-in-class, oral medication to treat depression and co-occurring substance use disorders, such as alcohol, nicotine and/or illicit drug addiction," added Dr. Reza Mazhari, Cerecor's Vice President of Drug Discovery and Development. "A planned clinical trial in nicotine dependence will afford us the opportunity to rapidly evaluate the effect of CERC-501 on tobacco reinstatement, and assess subject's craving, mood and anxiety during abstinence periods. If successful, this initial study could open the doors to additional indications for CERC-501 going forward."
Under the terms of the agreement, Cerecor will immediately assume full development and commercialization responsibilities of CERC-501. License consideration includes undisclosed milestone payments and royalties. Cerecor anticipates completing the technology transfer activities by mid-2015 and initiating clinical trials in the second-half of the year.
Cerecor Inc ("Cerecor") is a Baltimore-based biopharmaceutical company developing proprietary treatments to make a difference in the lives of patients with neurological and psychiatric diseases by addressing the unmet medical needs of underserved patient segments. We are committed to the development of drugs that improve lives by applying our extensive knowledge and experience in central nervous system disorders. www.cerecor.com