Savant receives grant from NIDA for development of compulsive behavior

Savant HWP, Inc. has announced the receipt of a three-year grant to support the development of 18-MC, or 18-methoxycoronaridine, as a potential orally active treatment for drug addiction, obesity and other forms of compulsive behavior.

The grant, given by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), provides a total of $6,486,657 to support IND-enabling studies and GMP Scale-Up of 18-MC for use in clinical trials. Savant expects to begin human clinical safety studies of 18-MC in Brazil in early 2013, where the drug will also be studied as a potential treatment for leishmaniasis, and to begin US clinical development in addiction in 2014.

"Unlike current treatments for drug addiction and nicotine abuse, 18-MC uniquely targets the central dopamine "reward" pathway involved in all forms of addictive "pleasure-seeking" behaviors, including over-eating," said Stephen Hurst, Savant HWP Chairman and CEO.

"Years of preclinical research using a variety of addiction models, by Savant's scientific founder, Stanley Glick, Director of the Center for Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, suggests this compound has the potential to bring a major treatment advance to the fields of addiction medicine and obesity therapy."

"18-MC is likely to be the first of a new generation of agents effective against a broad spectrum of addictions-from hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine, to alcohol, nicotine and even sugary, high-fat foods, possibly reducing obesity rates," said Glick, who has studied the neurobiology of addiction for 40 years.

"We're also hopeful that this drug will provide the additional benefit of relief for a completely unrelated disorder, leishmaniasis, which creates painful skin lesions as well as damaging internal organs."

18-MC is an alpha-3-beta-4 nicotinic receptor antagonist that modulates excessive dopamine fluctuations in the mesolimbic system of the brain. This mechanism of action differs from all current medications used to treat addiction that are either agonists or antagonists for the addiction substance's primary receptor site.