Assuage Pharmaceuticals is a privately held, pre-clinical stage company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative new therapeutics that address smoking and other addictions. Founded in 2012 as a spin-out from Torrey Pines, the company has been conducting studies that would lead to investigational new drug (IND) status from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead compound. Funded by multiple NIH and NCI grants, almost five years of research has led to the development of the company’s portfolio. An exclusive global license to multiple compounds and related IP was obtained from the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies (TPIMS).
The company’s portfolio includes multiple compounds that address a significant unmet medical need. In pre-clinical studies, the two lead compounds demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce cravings for nicotine and to reduce relapse (a desire to start smoking again).They appear to be very well tolerated. These first-in-class antagonists demonstrated high affinity and exquisite selectivity for the most important nicotine receptor, and the company believes that it is this selectivity and specificity that is responsible for the impressive results.
Using combinatorial libraries, scaffold ranking and position scanning strategies, Assuage discovered new scaffolds that produced high affinity nAChR antagonists with exquisite selectivity for α4β2 nAChR over α3β4 nAChR, with respect to both binding affinity and in vitro functional activity. These two features differentiate our compounds from those which are generally non-selective with respect to functional activity, or offer only partial agonist activity. AP-202 is a full antagonist and is the most advanced of these compounds. It could enter Phase I clinical trials in early 2020. The long-range plan for the company is to develop these unique compounds through Phase 2 clinical trials (either alone or with a strategic partner) and to identify partners that can help Assuage realize the full commercial potential of each compound in the US and abroad. A full range of collaboration opportunities will be considered.