Research into non-opioid analgesics

Australian researchers are set to investigate the development of non-addictive analgesics

The University of Queensland announced that it will be looking into alternatives to addictive opioid drugs such as codeine, under an agreement with Canadian biomedical company PreveCeutical Medical Inc.

Uniquest, UQ’s commercialisation company, entered into a research and option agreement with PMI for UQ to conduct research expanding the use of its peptide disulphide linker technology in a bid to develop non-addictive analgesics.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss says UQ’s strategy is to prevent pain through a different mechanism to the available opioid receptor drugs such as morphine, codeine and fentanyl.

“The hope is that this would avoid the associated effects of euphoria, tolerance and dependence that lead to overdose,” he says.

“An alternative analgesic could help address global concerns over the addictive nature – and subsequent deaths by overdose – of existing opioid drugs.”

The Federal Government will ban over-the-counter sales of painkillers containing codeine from 1 February, bringing Australia into line with the US, Japan and much of Europe. The TGA is also investigating ways to reduce misuse of S8 drugs including opioids.

Dr Moss says UQ researcher Associate Professor Peter Cabot will lead the two-year research program in collaboration with Dr Harendra (Harry) Parekh, both from UQ’s School of Pharmacy.

“It will involve the synthesis and testing of peptides for their analgesic activity in parallel with their pharmacological and pharmacokinetic evaluation in a chronic and acute setting.”

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