Israeli biopharmaceutical company to develop compound invented at CU to treat neuropathic pain


A medical compound known as BL-1110, developed by Hang ‘Hubert’ Yin, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Linda Watkins, distinguished professor of psychology and neuroscience, at the University of Colorado Boulder has been licensed by BioLineRx, a biopharmaceutical company based in Israel.

In pre-clinical studies, BL-1110 has been shown to enhance the analgesic (pain-killing) effects of morphine while reducing its negative side effects.

Linda Watkins

Linda Watkins

BioLineRx plans to use BL-1110 to develop better treatments for neuropathic pain, which has been notoriously difficult to treat with standard pain-killers. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or diseases affecting the nervous system, such as shingles, diabetes and cancer.

Neuropathic pain does not usually respond to regular pain-killers and can be very difficult to treat; only about half of patients achieve even partial relief.

One of the most potent drugs for the treatment of neuropathic pain is morphine. However, its efficacy is often significantly limited because the body develops a tolerance to the drug and because it has severe side effects.

Neuropathic pain does not usually respond to regular pain-killers and can be very difficult to treat; only about half of patients achieve even partial relief.

BL-1110 is an orally administered small molecule designed to block the binding of opioid pain-killers to the toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) on glial cells in the nervous system.

This action actually enhances the analgesic effect of opioids like morphine and reduces tolerance, dependence, and other adverse side effects commonly associated with opioid pain-killers.

Hang Hubert Yin

Hang ‘Hubert’ Yin

Yin states, “We have high hopes that BL-1110 will be a valuable companion to opioid therapies, enhancing their efficacy and reducing their negative side effects.”

Kinneret Savitsky, CEO of BioLineRx, concurs, adding, “This drug could offer a real breakthrough for the treatment of this challenging and persistent pathology. We are therefore very pleased to sign a collaborative licensing agreement to continue the development of this drug.”

BL-1110 is being developed by BioLineRx Ltd. under a worldwide exclusive license agreement with the University of Colorado.

For more information, see http://biolinerx.com/default.asp?pageid=14&itemid=35

July 8, 2014

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