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Discovery of alpha4beta2 Nicotinic Receptor Antagonists as Alcohol Abuse Medications

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AA025298-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AA025298
Amount: $224,956.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIAAA
Solicitation Number: PA15-270
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-09-25
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-09-30
Small Business Information
Port Saint Lucie, FL 34987-2352
United States
DUNS: 078516360
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (772) 345-4714
Business Contact
Phone: (772) 345-4582
Research Institution

Alcohol addiction and disorders associated to excessive alcohol use are a serious public health problem in the
United States and in other parts of the world Current pharmacotherapies for the treatment of these disorders
show limited efficacy Preclinical and clinical findings point to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors nAChRs as an
alternative promising target for the development of novel and effective medications However it is unclear
which specific nAChR subtypes serve as mediators of the rewarding effects of alcohol due in part to the
complexity of the different possible combinations of the subunits that compose nAChRs and the lack of potent
and selective ligands Using combinatorial libraries scaffold ranking and position scanning strategies Assuage
Pharmaceuticals in collaboration with Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies has discovered new
scaffolds that have produced high affinity nAChR antagonists with exquisite selectivity for nAChRs over
nAChRs with respect to both binding affinity and in vitro functional activity When tested in rats one lead
compound TPI as well as varenicline a partial agonist of nAChRs but not nAChR directed
ligands attenuated both alcohol and nicotine taking behaviors in a paradigm in which the two reinforcers were
concurrently available The nAChR directed ligands were only effective in reducing nicotine self
administration These initial findings led us to hypothesize that nAChRs may serve as a viable target for
developing pharmacotherapies to treat alcohol dependence To verify this hypothesis here we propose to use
the Assuage compounds to examine whether novel high affinity and selective nAChR antagonists are
effective in reducing important aspects of alcohol addiction including excessive alcohol intake and vulnerability
to relapse To accomplish this objective two specific aims have been proposed The purpose of Specific Aim
is to A re synthesize selective nAChR compounds TPI and and B determine in
vitro functional activities prior to in vivo testing Specific Aim is aimed at testing the in vivo efficacy of these
compounds It will determine whether the selective antagonists block A both operant and excessive
home cage alcohol drinking and B relapse into alcohol seeking as assessed by both cue induced and stress
induced reinstatement paradigms We expect this multidisciplinary proposal to identify novel pharmacological
tools that can be optimized in a future Phase II application and ultimately to be used as medications for
excessive alcohol use and dependence PROJECT NARRATIVE
Current pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcohol addiction and disorders associated to excessive
alcohol use show limited efficacy Here we propose that inhibition of function of a specific subtype of nicotinic
receptors nAChRs might provide efficacy for the treatment of these disorders Accordingly we will test
effectiveness of novel high affinity and selective nAChR antagonists in well established animal models
known to reflect important aspects of alcohol addiction including excessive alcohol use and vulnerability to
relapse in human alcoholics These experiments are critical to guide the development of new treatment
strategies and prevention for alcohol abuse and dependence

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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