Friday, January 20, 2006

From cannabinoids to protein kinases

DailyUpdates 20th January, 2006 - What's new in drug development: Today we feature 25 journal articles and 4 press releases selected for the drug development sector.

The pick of the featured journal articles (at least in our mind) concerns a novel approach to cannabinoid based pharmaceuticals.

As discussed in our recent report, Cannabinoids - A potential Blockbuster, cannabinoid receptor ligands have the potential to become blockbusters although only two products are available in this growing market. This will soon be changed with the imminent approval of Sativex (see our featured release from Jan, 2006), and the mid-2006 launch of Acomplia by Sanofi-Aventis. Further development continues with Pharmos recently announcing (press release) the initiation of phase II trials of their CB2 ligand for the treatment of pain (this market is discussed in Pain Therapeutics - Drugs, Markets and Companies).

One problem with the cannabinoids, in particular CB1 agonists, is that they can produce a spectrum of motor and psychotropic side effects. Fatty-acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is involved in the degradation of endogenous cannabinoids and today's headline article (Br J Pharmacol. 2005 Dec 5; [Epub ahead of print]) reports that a selective FAAH inhibitor, URB597 displays efficacy in models of pain without altering motor performance as a result of CB1 and CB2 receptor activation.

Our headline press release announces a new assay kit that should be of use to many in the drug development sector.

The various protein kinases families continue to provide key molecular targets across a broad range of therapeutic areas. Only yesterday we featured new data from AstraZeneca emerging from their efforts to develop inhibitors of aurora kinase (we have evaluated this subfamily of promising oncology targets in a recent report - click here). The protein kinases as a whole are evaluated in a second feature The Emerging Drug Targets Outlook.

One of the limiting factors in exploiting this family therapeutically is the availability of screening tools and today's press release from NovaScreen described new assays that should hopefully ease this problem.

That all for see today's DailyUpdates bulletin in its entirety please click here


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