Early-stage venture Isosceles Pharmaceuticals
is working on developing non-opioid pain relief alternatives to opium-derived drugs such as Oxycodone. Working with a group of medical doctors and pharmaceutical Ph.D.s, the young company wants to formulate products that will be effective in treating post-operative acute pain safely, using synthetic cannabidiol manufactured under an FDA drug master file.
Patients would be administered the drug intravenously or through a skin patch.
“Our cannabidiol, or CBD, is created in a laboratory under lab conditions, so it’s synthetic and not hemp derived,” said founder and President Brett Lanier, a medicinal chemist with more than a decade of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. “As a comparison, aspirin originally came from the bark of willow trees, but we no longer grow willow trees to make aspirin; we synthesize it. There are too many impurities in an agricultural product; the FDA would not approve it.”
“Isosceles has a team of medical doctors and pharmaceutical Ph.D.s with a proven track record of drug development and FDA approval for pain products and transdermal pain patches,” the company’s nomination form stated. “They have a combined 130 years of pharmaceutical experience and multiple FDA drug approvals. Isosceles is leveraging that experience to develop a completely new type of pain product through the clinical trial process.”
There is a large market for non-opioid drugs that address acute, post-operative pain, Lanier said.
If the venture is successful, its products would aim to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed after surgery, and, Lanier noted, could reduce pediatric exposure to opioids.
He believes that CBD’s strong endorsement from the FDA means that Isosceles’ products will be approved for use with children as well as adults.
“Research shows that children initially got exposed to opioids through dental surgery, such as extraction of wisdom teeth,” he said.
Isosceles Pharmaceuticals has received some early-stage funding, according to Lanier. In May, the company was the winner of the inaugural NC BIONEER Venture Challenge, a competition aimed at enhancing life sciences and biotechnology business ventures in the region.
Its award consisted of a $20,000 investment and a one-year tenancy at the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“Isosceles Pharmaceuticals is fortunate to have the crucial mix of a great idea that meets an existing market need, a strong team headed by an exceptional entrepreneurial leader, an impressive rollout and growth plan and attractiveness for raising equity capital,” said Randall Johnson, executive director of the N.C. Biotechnology Center Southeastern Office in Wilmington. “Brett Lanier possesses a flexible, go-getter attitude and unceasing drive that bode well for the success of the venture and were on full display when he recently participated in and won the NC BIONEER Venture Challenge.”