Navega Therapeutics wins Phase I SBIR award from the National Cancer Institute to palliate cancer pain
The grant will support the development of novel gene therapies to ameliorate cancer pain
San Diego, California. September 13, 2019.
Navega Therapeutics announced the receipt of a Phase I grant from the National Cancer Institute under the auspices of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the National Institutes of Health.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common side effect of many cancer chemotherapy drug treatment regimens, and one of the major factors in patients discontinuing their chemotherapy. Furthermore, the current standard of care for CIPN often relies on opioids, which can have serious adverse events and significant risk of addiction. The increase in prevalence of cancer coupled with an increase in cancer survival rates is transforming CIPN into a large, unmet medical need.
Navega takes advantage of the genetic studies that have correlated a rare hereditary loss-of-function mutation in one channel isoform – NaV1.7 – with a genetic disorder known as Congenital Insensitivity to Pain (CIP). Individuals with CIP are insensitive to pain without other neurodevelopmental alterations. Thus, selective inhibition of NaV1.7 should recapitulate the phenotype of CIP. However, the high homology of human NaV proteins, have frustrated most efforts to develop selective inhibitors with small molecules and antibodies. The grant will be utilized for the further development of Navega’s gene therapies that are more specific and potent.
According to Dr. Fernando Aleman, CSO of Navega Therapeutics and Principal Investigator for the project, “Our unique capability and approach may enable long lasting analgesia for patients with severe chemotherapy induced pain without the more serious adverse events or risk of addiction associated with current treatment regimens, such as opioids.”
This latest breakthrough builds on the expertise and successes of Dr. Ana Moreno, Navega’s CEO and Co-PI of the project. “Navega’s approach has the potential to be a paradigm shift in pain management. We are excited that this grant validates our approach and represents the first step towards helping patients in pain”.
At the end of Phase I, Navega shall know the potency, specificity, and safety of the optimized gene therapy and will apply for a Phase II SBIR grant to perform IND-enabling toxicology studies. Navega’s goal is to advance this therapy forward into the clinic, to provide an alternative treatment to opioids for cancer patients in pain.
Research reported in this press release will be supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43CA239940 titled “Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy via Genetic Repression of Sodium Channels”. The content is solely the responsibility of Navega Therapeutics and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
About NCI SBIR | The SBIR/STTR program is one of the nation’s largest sources of financing for technology innovation. The National Cancer Institute’s SBIR Development Center provides funding, mentoring, and networking assistance to small businesses developing innovative cancer technologies, with an ultimate goal of bringing the innovation from lab to patients. Learn more about the program on https://sbir.cancer.gov.
About Navega Therapeutics Inc. | Navega is a preclinical stage company pursuing a radically different approach to treat chronic pain and tackle the opioid epidemic. Our gene therapy platform has the advantage of being highly specific and long-lasting, which has not been achieved by small molecules thus far. Our approach includes addressing different types of pain in order to improve the quality of life of millions of patients.