Methods to Produce Novel Analgesic Drugs

Tech ID:

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) seeks to partner with a company interested in developing non-opioid analgesics by exploiting a newly discovered mechanism involved in the pathology of pain.  The mechanism also appears to be active in shock and inflammation, so therapeutics with the potential to delay the onset of refractory shock and decrease inflammation may also be sought.


Scientists at UTHSCSA have discovered that specific oxidized linoleic acid metabolites (OLAMs) are directly responsible for triggering pain by binding to one of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of receptors, the TRPV1 receptor.  The researchers have found that blocking OLAM synthesis or attacking the OLAMs with antibodies before they can trigger pain causes an analgesic effect.  Importantly, by targeting the TRPV1 receptor ligands rather than the receptors themselves, OLAM-mediated analgesics are expected to lack the serious side effects of direct TRPV1 receptor antagonists, which have prevented clinical use.  Further, OLAM-mediated analgesia is not expected to cause the side effects of opioid-based treatment such as depression of respiratory function, dependence, sedation, and induced tolerance.  The researchers have identified several different classes of OLAM-blocking compounds and can guide the identification and evaluation of others.


The researchers have also identified OLAMs active at TRPV3 and TRPV4 receptors, activation of which is associated with acceleration of the symptoms of many if not all types of shock.  Therefore, therapeutics targeting those OLAMs may delay multi-organ failure associated with refractory shock.


Market Applications:

Pain.  OLAM-mediated analgesia has the potential to treat many forms of pain, including those for which currently available analgesics work poorly (e.g., burn pain, neuropathic pain, cancer pain, herpes zoster pain, etc).  The researchers are the first to describe the TRPV1/OLAM-mediated pain model; thus, a pharmaceutical company with a successful product has the potential to field a truly differentiable analgesic in a market where differentiation has been difficult.  


Shock.  Even with aggressive and prompt treatment, shock is often fatal.  While the therapy currently used to treat any one case of shock depends upon the specific cause, the release of OLAMs from stressed cells is a process common to many if not all cases of shock.  Anti-OLAM therapy has the potential to affect most types of shock and save many lives by delaying the progressive and often fatal multi-organ failure caused by the shock cascade.


Benefits and Advantages:

·         Lacks the clinically-limiting problems of opioid analgesics and may treat types of pain that opioids cannot

·         Delays the fatal multi-organ deterioration caused by refractory shock, independent of specific cause

·         Compounds and antibodies identified; expertise to guide identification and evaluation of others


IP Status:  U.S. and foreign patents pending; U.S. Publication 20110311545

Patent Information:
For information contact:
Maryellen McCafferty
Business Development Manager
Office of Technology Commercialization
Amol Patwardhan
Kenneth Hargreaves
Armen Akopian