Neurocrine Biosciences


CRF is a central nervous system-based, hypothalamic hormone that acts on specific CRF receptors to stimulate the release of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH). The primary role of ACTH is the stimulation of synthesis and release of adrenal steroids including cortisol. Blockade of CRF receptors on the pituitary has been shown to decrease the release of ACTH and subsequently attenuate the production and release of adrenal steroids and potentially alleviate the symptoms associated with clinical depression as well as anxiety and stress related disorders. 

We have a strategic position in the CRF field through our intellectual property portfolio and relationship with experts in the neuropsychiatric field. We have patents covering two receptor subtypes termed CRF1 and CRF2, and we have pending patent applications on small molecule organic compounds modulating the CRF receptors. Our compound, NBI-77860, is a potent, selective, non-peptide CRF1 receptor antagonist as demonstrated in a range of in vitro and in vivo assays as well as human clinical studies. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 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 dysfunction 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 National Institute of Mental Health there are approximately eight million post-traumatic stress disorder sufferers in the United States. 

Emory University of Atlanta, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York, Baylor College of Medicine in Texas and University of California San Francisco, VA Medical Center through a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, have been conducting a multi-site Phase II clinical trial evaluating NBI-77860 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 is currently enrolling subjects in a Phase II clinical trial evaluating NBI-77860 in stress-induced craving in alcoholic women with high anxiety. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial is expected to enroll 60 patients for a four-week treatment period. This study is also expected to take several years to complete.