CODA Joins Facial Pain Research Foundation International Scientific Consortium
By Michael Pasternak, Founding Trustee
I am excited to say on New Years Day 2018, The Facial Pain Research Foundation (FPRF) has six Foundation and two corporate funded scientific research projects actively working to find the cure for trigeminal neuralgia and related neuropathic pain. The scientists working on these projects are members of our International Scientific Research Consortium. In the past this World Famous WebNewspaper has printed numerous stories about the Foundation funded projects (see Dr. Douglas Andersons 2017 Report). In October, 2017 the FPRF announced that Neurona Inc. (a corporate funded research project joined the FPRF Scientific Consortium. Neurona is focused on the discovery and development of cell-based therapies to treat intractable neurological diseases including TN and related neuropathic pain. Today the Foundation is pleased to announce that CODA, another corporate funded scientific project, is joining the FPRF International Research
CODA Biotherapeutics is a San Francisco based pre-clinical stage biotechnology company developing a novel therapeutic platform for the treatment of chronic pain and other severe neurological disorders. CODA’s innovative platform relies upon a gene therapy approach to modulating aberrant neural activity, which CODA’s co-founders — a team of forward-thinking biotechnology entrepreneurs, scientists, and clinicians — believe will provide relief to patients suffering from intractable neuropathic pain such as that associated with trigeminal neuralgia and establish a new treatment paradigm for severe neurological disorders. The entire CODA team enthusiastically welcomes the opportunity to join the Facial Pain Research Foundation’s Scientific Consortium in developing new treatment options for patients with trigeminal neuralgia.
Building upon the groundbreaking work of the company’s founders and Scientific Advisory Board members, several of whom have been associated with FPRF, CODA is using advanced synthetic biology approaches to engineer novel neurotransmitter receptors that respond selectively to non-addictive and non-opioid-based small molecules. These engineered neurotransmitter receptors are delivered to pain-signaling neurons using viral vectors by standard of care neurosurgical procedures. Hyperactive target neurons that express the receptor, including those in the trigeminal ganglia, can then be controllably silenced by oral administration of the safe small molecule. Because the treatment molecule exclusively activates the receptor, it is possible to achieve highly selective blockade of the critical pain signals from reaching the brain. This effectively opens the “therapeutic window”, reducing the potential for adverse side effects. Preclinical studies in multiple neuropathic pain models have demonstrated that this technology provides robust, durable, tunable, and reversible pain control, without the side effects experienced with existing small molecule therapies (e.g. opioids, anticonvulsants, tricyclic antidepressants) or neurosurgical procedures (e.g. ablation, neurostimulation implants). CODA anticipates that this technology will be used to manage intractable chronic pain across a multitude of conditions, including trigeminal neuralgia, and it will be applied broadly to other peripheral and central nervous system disorders in the future.