SEATTLE, February 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Omeros Corporation (NASDAQ: OMER) today announced that it has been awarded a grant of $1.04 million from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to fund further drug development against neuromedin U receptor 2 (NMUR2). NMUR2 is a non-orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) linked to pain. Drugs that target NMUR2 could manage pain without the risk of addiction or other negative side effects associated with currently marketed analgesics (e.g., Vicodin®, OxyContin® and Percocet®) that target opioid and other pain-related receptors. The global analgesics market is projected to reach approximately US$35 billion by the year 2015.
Using its proprietary mouse gene knock-out technology and series of behavioral assays, Omeros was the first to identify and establish NMUR2's link to pain. This research is described in an article titled "Neuromedin U Receptor 2-Deficient Mice Display Differential Responses in Sensory Perception, Stress, and Feeding" that was published in the December 2006 edition of Molecular and Cellular Biology. The NIDA grant announced today will fund medicinal chemistry for proprietary compounds that interact with NMUR2. Omeros will retain ownership of any compounds developed with the assistance of this NIDA grant.
"We appreciate NIDA's ongoing support of Omeros' drug development programs, including those directly targeting addiction," said Gregory A. Demopulos, M.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Omeros. "NIDA's funding of our NMUR2 program, which is focused on pain relief rather than addiction, underscores the reduced addictive potential of the NMUR2-targeting analgesics that we are developing. A non-addictive analgesic with pain-relieving capabilities equal to that of opioids would represent a major advance in the field of pain management."