Corticotropin-Releasing Factor (CRF) Antagonist
Researchers have identified what they believe to be the central mediator of the body’s stress responses or stress-induced disorders. This mediator is a brain chemical known as CRF. CRF is overproduced in clinically depressed patients and may be dysregulated in individuals with anxiety disorders. Current research indicates that clinically depressed patients and patients with anxiety experience dysfunction of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the system that manages the body’s overall response to stress. This amplifies production of CRF and induces the physical effects that are associated with stress that can lead to stress-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder. According to Datamonitor (2008), there are approximately 7.8 million post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers in the United States. We believe the novelty and specificity of the CRF mechanism of action and the prospect of improving upon selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy represents a market opportunity both to better serve patients and expand the overall treatment of stress-related disorders.
There are several clinical studies of 561679 being conducted in the United States under investigator sponsored INDs. Emory University of Atlanta and Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, are conducting a Phase II clinical trial evaluating 561679 in women with post-traumatic stress disorder. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is expected to enroll approximately 150 patients for a six-week treatment period. This study began in late 2009 and is expected to take several years to complete. Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has initiated a Phase II clinical trial evaluating 561679 in stress-induced craving in alcoholic women with high anxiety. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is expected to enroll 50 patients for a four-week treatment period. This study is also expected to take several years to complete.