More than 15 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder, according to the CDC, but a new medication may offer a solution. Adial Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ADIL) is developing AD04, a drug in Phase IIb clinical trials for treatment of alcohol addiction.
This week, Adial CEO Bill Stilley discussed the prospects for AD04 in an interview with CBS San Francisco affiliate KPIX-TV. AD04 is genetically targeted to help a specific subset of people suffering from alcohol addiction due to genetic factors, he said.
“We believe that this drug can help those patients,” the CEO said. “But in the future, as we start to understand more about the brain, more about addiction, we’ll be able to develop other drugs and other people will develop other drugs to help a different segment of the population.”
Adial's approach to complex psychological conditions such as addiction and depression is known as precision medicine, and it was facilitated by the unlocking of the human genome at the beginning of the 21st century, Stilley said.
“I think it’s the wave of the future. It’s how all drugs will be targeted."
Like depression and other conditions, the causes and types of alcohol addiction vary from person to person, and one universal treatment is unlikely to help every patient, Stilley said, adding that AD04 showed promising results in its Phase IIb trials.
“Patients has a significant reduction in how often they drank, and then, importantly, when they drank, a 60-percent reduction in the amount they drank."
AD04 works by modifying the dopamine system in the brain that is involved in cravings.
Alcohol-impaired driving is a factor in more than 30 percent of fatal traffic accidents each year, according to the CDC. Each year, more than 88,000 Americans die as a result of alcohol abuse.
“It is one of the single worst diseases in the world and in the United States,” Stilley said.
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