Kochi, India Co. Develops Novel Drugs to Battle U.S. Opiod Epidemic

Kochi, India Co. Develops Novel Drugs to Battle U.S. Opiod Epidemic

PNB VESPER a Kochi-based biopharma company located in the southern state of Kerala, signed agreements with the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop drugs to treat opioid and cocaine addiction disorders. Kochi, (formerly Cochin) is part of the southwestern state coastal state of Kerala.

Per the deal, NIDA will evaluate three PNB VESPER drug candidates – PNB 091, PNB 081, and PNB 101 – as potential treatments for addiction diseases.

PNB VESPER has completed preclinical studies of the molecules and plans to soon file Investigational New Drug applications with the FDA, followed by U.S. clinical trials before end-2024.

P.N. Balaram, PNB VESPER’s Director and CEO, said the company is proud to partner with NIDA on addressing the major opioid and cocaine addiction issue in America. He stated PNB VESPER’s molecules were selected by U.S. agencies for development after rigorous NIH and government review.

Drug overdose and abuse are serious U.S. and global public health crises. Millions of Americans suffer from addiction, and thousands die daily from overdoses, primarily opioids. A recent CDC estimate found over 200,000 U.S. overdose deaths in 2022 – exceeding combined gun and car accident fatalities.

Annual expenditure on addiction-related disorders in the U.S. alone amounts to nearly $700 billion. Opioid addiction stands as a chronic ailment causing substantial health, societal, and economic challenges. Over the last 15 years, substantial efforts and billions of dollars have been invested by the U.S. government in initiatives focused on developing safe drugs to address these disorders.


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