Healthcare Industry News: neurodegenerative
News Release - May 10, 2007
Cortex and the University of Alberta Complete Patent License AgreementRights Could Broaden the Use of AMPAKINE(R) Compounds to prevent Opiate- and Barbiturate-Induced Respiratory Depression
IRVINE, Calif. and EDMONTON, AB--(HSMN NewsFeed)--The Board of Directors of Cortex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMEX:COR ) and TEC Edmonton on behalf of The Governors of the University of Alberta jointly announced that they have entered into an exclusive Patent License Agreement that could broaden the use of Cortex's AMPAKINEŽ technology to prevent and treat opiate- and barbiturate-induced respiratory depression. University of Alberta Professor Dr. John J. Greer has demonstrated in both in vitro and in vivo animal models that selected AMPAKINE compounds can enhance respiratory drive and breathing rhythm at the level of the brainstem. While it has been reported that only 0.5%-1.2% of total adverse drug events caused by prescription medications are respiratory in nature, these account for 25%-30% of drug-induced deaths. Opiates and barbiturates are the primary drugs classes responsible for these effects. These events usually occur during the dose adjustment period or when different central nervous depressants are taken together without checking with a pharmacist or physician.
"This filed patent application by Dr. Greer describes a method by which an AMPAKINE compound can reverse the respiratory depression associated with classes of commonly prescribed opiate analgesics, such as codeine, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, methadone, pentazocine, butorphanol, buprenorphine, and sedative drugs called barbiturates such as, phenobarbital. Dr Greer has demonstrated that the respiratory depression induced by these agents can be reversed or prevented with an AMPAKINE, without a reduction of pain relief or sedation," explained Roger G. Stoll, Ph.D., Cortex's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "This opens up the real possibility of combining an AMPAKINE compound with the commonly prescribed barbiturates or opiates to reduce the mortality caused by these adverse reactions."
Dr. Greer added: "Clinicians are currently concerned that the only means of countering opiate induced respiratory depression is to give an opiate receptor antagonist. This can lead to considerable problems managing pain. AMPAKINE compounds may allow for more effective use of opiate analgesics."
Under the terms of the Agreement, the University will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, milestones, and royalties, and Dr. Greer will get multiple years of support to expand this research.
About Dr. Greer, The University of Alberta and TEC Edmonton
Dr. John J. Greer is a Professor in the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, at the University of Alberta and Scientist of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. He is affiliated with the University's Centre for Neuroscience, the Perinatal Research Centre and the Women and Children's Health Research Institute. His research is directed toward providing fundamental insights into the development of the neuromuscular control of respiration. Dr. Greer's study of the effects of AMPAKINE compounds on respiration was published in the Dec. 15, 2006 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Since 1908, the University of Alberta has remained committed to the pursuit of new knowledge and its dissemination to the world. As one of Canada's top research-intensive universities, it received over $420 million in externally funded research in 2006-07. The University is the largest research institution in the province of Alberta with nearly 13,000 academic and support staff and over 36,000 students at its campus located in the provincial capital, Edmonton. Its international reputation grows with many leading-edge achievements, including the "Edmonton Protocol" treatment for Type 1 diabetes, the pioneering work of the National Institute for Nanotechnology and the world's first antiviral treatment for hepatitis B.
TEC Edmonton acts as the technology transfer office for the University of Alberta. A joint venture created in 2004 by the University of Alberta and Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, TEC Edmonton is committed to providing investors with access to high-growth, advanced-technology opportunities in the form of new inventions, innovations or early stage ventures created in the Edmonton region.
Cortex, located in Irvine, California, is a neuroscience company focused on novel drug therapies for neurological and psychiatric disorders. The Company is pioneering a class of proprietary pharmaceuticals called AMPAKINEŽ compounds, which act to increase the strength of signals at connections between brain cells. The loss of these connections is thought to be responsible for memory and behavior problems in Alzheimer's disease. Many psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, occur as a result of imbalances in the brain's neurotransmitter system. These imbalances may be improved by using the AMPAKINE technology. Cortex has alliances with N.V. Organon (Organon Biosciences) for the treatment of schizophrenia and depression and with Les Laboratoires Servier for the development of AMPAKINE compounds to treat the neurodegenerative effects associated with aging and disease, including Mild Cognitive Impairment, Alzheimer's disease and anxiety disorders. On March 12, 2007, Akzo Nobel, Organon's parent company, announced the proposed sale of Organon to Schering-Plough, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2007. For additional information regarding Cortex, please visit Cortex Pharmaceuticals' website at www.cortexpharm.com.
NOTE -- This press release contains forward-looking statements anticipating results of future research and development activities and the possible clinical uses of AMPAKINE compounds, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond the control of Cortex, all as more fully described in the risk factors and other matters set forth in Cortex's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, and Cortex's other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cortex disclaims any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Source: Cortex Pharmaceuticals
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