Australian company develops next-generation pain reliever

Australian scientists are working on new pain relievers that are more targeted and have fewer side effects for people with debilitating and chronic pain.

Targeting molecules thought to influence the way the body feels pain, these drugs are being developed by Cassowary Pharmaceuticals, a University of Queensland startup.

Company founder and UQ biotech expert Trent Munro said this type of therapy would reduce potential side effects and safety issues associated with current pain treatments and reduce the need for He says it takes less.

“Creating a drug with these properties could change the lives of millions of people who suffer from chronic neuropathic pain,” Munroe said in a statement.

About 10% of the Australian adult population lives with neuropathic pain from diseases and conditions such as cancer, sciatica, peripheral nerve injury and osteoarthritis, he said.

However, many existing treatments are either ineffective in many patients or carry the risk of side effects such as addiction and liver toxicity.

“We can create drugs that are highly accurate, avoid the risk of liver toxicity, and reduce the overall medication burden,” said Professor Munro.

Cassowary Pharmaceuticals plans to begin recruiting candidates for clinical trials within the next 18 months, with the aim of bringing the drug to market.

The startup is one of four that received funding from the federal Medical Research Future Fund earlier this year.

Munroe said the planned drug builds on previous scientific discoveries and experimental tool developments by UQ professors Marie Smith and Greg Monteith, respectively.

Professor Smith’s research led to the development of an oral pain reliever by another UQ spin-off, Spinifex, which passed human trials in 2012.

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis bought the technology in a purchase that included an upfront cash payment of $260 million in what was billed as Australia’s largest ever biotech deal.



Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.