Cerecor picks up a Lilly antidepressant with ambitions in addiction

Cerecor acquired the rights to an Eli Lilly ($LLY) antidepressant, planning to take the drug into Phase II as a treatment for addictive disorders. The treatment, formerly LY2456302, bolsters the brain's kappa opioid receptors, an action Cerecor says has been tied to modulating stress and, importantly, blocking the physical and emotional symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Under Lilly's watch, the drug proved safe and able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier in Phase I, and Cerecor plans to start a mid-stage trial of its own in the second half of 2015, rechristening the treatment CERC-501 and testing it in nicotine dependence. More