Article
    The impact of small and mid-sized biotech companies has become increasingly important. The shift from large pharma dominance to a biotech-driven era of drug discovery presents challenges to the traditional model of education for emerging medicinal chemists. Industry leader Dean Brown recently highlighted challenges for modern medicinal chemists starting in biotech who face fewer mentoring opportunities and are often propelled into leadership positions sooner than their counterparts in big pharma. Here we share how our team of former industry scientists at Drug Hunter can help.
    Article
    NaV1.8 has become an industry focal point in the pursuit of pain therapeutics thanks to the success of Vertex’s selective inhibitor, VX-548, in Ph. III clinical trials for acute pain and Ph. II results in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Unlike opioid receptor modulation, NaV1.8 inhibition does not carry the same addiction risks in part due to its lack of expression in the brain. Following our recent review of the leading NaV1.8 inhibitor VX-548, this article provides more details on the history of target validation for NaV1.8 in pain and why this could be the new frontier for pain management.
    Molecule
    Vertex’s VX-548 is a potential first-in-class, exquisitely selective, oral NaV1.8 inhibitor that recently captured headlines for its positive Ph. III data. With the ongoing opioid epidemic throughout the US, there is an urgent unmet medical need for non-addictive pain medications as alternatives to opioids. They plan to file an NDA by mid-2024 for the treatment of moderate-to-severe acute pain. This case study highlights what’s publicly known about Vertex’s journey in pain leading up to the Ph. III readout for VX-548, and why this is such a watershed moment for pain management.
    Molecule
    GDC-1971 is an orally bioavailable allosteric inhibitor of the SHP2 phosphatase discovered by Relay Therapeutics, and in clinical development by Genentech both as a monotherapy and in combination with several anticancer therapies. SHP2 inhibitors are being hotly pursued since they may combine with numerous classes of clinically important agents. This article provides a primer on SHP2 as an oncology target, the disclosed molecules in the space, how RLY-1971 was identified, and what the industry is watching for.
    Motm
    January was an important month for Latigo Biotherapeutics who disclosed their preclinical small molecule Na V 1.8 inhibitor for non-opioid pain treatment that enters an increasingly competitive field led by Vertex’s VX-548 . A potential first-in-class pan-PKC inhibitor currently in Ph. II/III trials for uveal melanoma and a macrocyclic peptide possessing a novel mechanism of action to treat carbap [...]