RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. Enters a Collaboration With National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke to Advance its Lead GABAkine

RespireRX Pharmaceuticals Inc. | December 06, 2022 | Read time : 04:00 min

RespireRx Pharmaceuticals
RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. a leader in the discovery and development of innovative and revolutionary treatments to combat diseases caused by disruption of neuronal signaling, is pleased to announce that RespireRx has been accepted into the NIH HEAL Initiative® NINDS Preclinical Screening Platform for Pain program.

The Company’s lead GABAkine, KRM-II-81, has been shown to be effective in relieving acute, chronic, and neuropathic pain in a number of models without tolerance development or sedation.

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management. 

The PSPP program, part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, evaluates non-opioid assets in a battery of established preclinical models. The PSPP program accepts small molecules, biologics, devices, or natural products for evaluation, from researchers in academia and industry worldwide.

The RespireRx team is led by Dr. Arnold Lippa, RespireRx Executive Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer and Drs. James M. Cook, Jeffrey M. Witkin and Rok Cerne, all of whom are RespireRx Research Fellows in addition to their academic affiliations at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Ascension St. Vincent and Indiana University/Purdue University, respectively. The team has extensive expertise in drug discovery and development including the development of novel analgesic drugs and an extensive publication record with a combined total of over 1,000 scientific publications. The team has already profiled KRM-II-81 activity in a broad range of preclinical studies where it has displayed a high degree of analgesic activity and is excited at the prospect of advancing the Companay’s lead GABAkine toward clinical development. In cellular studies, KRM-II-81 preferentially bound to specific subtypes of GABAA receptors and boosted the ability of GABA to inhibit pain sensory neurons in the spinal dorsal root ganglia. In intact animal models of acute and chronic pain, the analgesic efficacy of KRM-II-81 was comparable to or greater than commonly used analgesics. At the same time, KRM-II-81 did not display side effects such as sedation and motor impairment, but even more importantly, it did not produce tolerance, dependence, respiratory depression, or behavioral changes indicative of abuse liability, which are produced by opioid narcotics and are at the heart of the opioid epidemic.

Unrelated to the NINDS project, KRM-II-81 has also shown promising results in multiple animal models of treatment resistant epilepsy and in human translational studies by reducing epileptiform electrical signaling in brain tissue removed from treatment resistant epileptic patients undergoing surgery.

Dr. Cerne commented “We believe that the expansion of our understanding of GABAA receptor structure and function has created a new surge in the discovery and development of GABAkines that target such receptors in a unique manner. This opens the promise of improved medicines for pain, epilepsy and other disorders caused by disruption of neuronal signaling.”

We are very excited about developing KRM-II-81 and expanding the IND enabling studies so as to begin human studies. Pending clinical validation, we believe that KRM-II-81 has the potential to represent a breakthrough treatment for pain, epilepsy, and other neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Dr. Lippa

About RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc.
RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a leader in the discovery and development of medicines for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, with a focus on treatments that address conditions affecting millions of people, but for which there are few or poor treatment options, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder epilepsy, pain, recovery from spinal cord injury ertain neurological orphan diseases and obstructive sleep apnea. RespireRx is developing a pipeline of new and re-purposed drug products based on our broad patent portfolios for two drug platforms: (i) pharmaceutical cannabinoids, which include dronabinol, a synthetic form of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol that acts upon the nervous system’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors and (ii) neuromodulators, which include AMPAkines and GABAkines, proprietary chemical entities that positively modulate AMPA-type glutamate receptors and GABAA receptors, respectively.

The Company holds exclusive licenses and owns patents and patent applications or rights thereto for certain families of chemical compounds that claim the chemical structures and their uses in the treatment of a variety of disorders, as well as claims for novel uses of known drugs.

EndeavourRx: Neuromodulators
GABAkines. Under a License Agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation, Inc. and on behalf of its EndeavourRx business unit, RespireRx has licensed rights to certain selectively acting GABAkines because of their ability to selectively amplify inhibitory neurotransmission at a highly specific, subset of GABAA receptors, thus producing a unique efficacy profile with reduced side effects. Preclinical studies have documented their efficacy in a broad array of animal models of interrelated neurological and psychiatric disorders including epilepsy, pain, anxiety, and depression in the absence of or with greatly reduced propensity to produce sedation, motor-impairment, tolerance, dependence and abuse. The Company currently is focusing on developing KRM-II-81 for the treatment of epilepsy and pain.


Successful execution of clinical trials requires the orchestration of multiple moving parts, with everything from protocol design and patient visit schedules, to lab kits and
biological samples needing to seamlessly line up to ensure on-time, on-budget delivery of high-quality data.


Successful execution of clinical trials requires the orchestration of multiple moving parts, with everything from protocol design and patient visit schedules, to lab kits and
biological samples needing to seamlessly line up to ensure on-time, on-budget delivery of high-quality data.

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