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GEN News Highlights: February 17, 2017

Amygdala Acquires Phase II-Ready Addiction Candidate from Gilead

  • Amygdala Neurosciences has acquired the mid-stage behavior and substance addictions candidate GS-6637 from Gilead Sciences for an undisclosed price.

    “Completion of this transaction launches Amygdala Neurosciences with a Phase-II ready asset that we believe has the potential to become a treatment for addiction,” Peter Strumph, Amygdala's co-founder and CEO, said yesterday in a statement. “In 2017, we look forward to initiating clinical trials for the treatment of both cocaine and alcohol use disorders.”

    GS-6637 is a highly selective aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) inhibitor that, according to Amygdala, has the potential to treat behavior and substance addictions based on a mechanism of action that prevents pathophysiologic dopamine surges and associated craving without changes to basal dopamine. The company says GS-6637 uses a novel pathway to modify dopaminergic tone.

    GS-6637 showed promising pharmacokinetics and safety profile in three Phase I trials assessing the candidate in 95 human patients. In animal studies, GS-6637 prevented stimuli-induced pathophysiologic dopamine surges resulting in drug-seeking behavior, resulting in decreased drug use and relapse, added Ivan Diamond, M.D., Ph.D., Amygdala's co-founder and CSO. Amygdala is renaming the compound ANS-6637.

    Gilead acquired the addiction candidate, then named CVT-10216, when it bought CV Therapeutics (CVT) for $1.4 billion in 2009. Amygdala has been launched by four former CVT executives, two of which later held positions at Gilead as senior advisor to the CEO—Dr. Diamond and Lou Lange, M.D., Ph.D., who is Amygdala’s executive chairman and founder.