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WNY company addressing global opioid problem with technology licensed from UB

Pills, charts, a stethoscope and pen next to a tablet device with the words "Pain Management" on the screen.


Published December 1, 2022

Arin Bhattacharjee.
“This is about getting non-opioid pain therapeutics to the people who need them. ”
Arin Bhattacharjee, associate professor
Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology

A promising alternative to opioids being developed in the Buffalo and Rochester regions is one step closer to meeting a critical need in pain management, thanks to a pivotal business partnership and exclusive licensing agreements with UB.

Built on scientific discoveries from the lab of Arin Bhattacharjee, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, Channavix Therapeutics LLC is developing two patent families related to long-lasting, non-opioid, non-addictive pain therapeutics.

The privately held biotech company was founded in partnership between Bhattacharjee; Elsa Daurignac, research assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Jacobs School; and Peregrine BioVentures LLC, based in Pittsford, N.Y.

The team behind Peregrine is no stranger to drug development. With previous successes building a biotech company in Western New York and out-licensing other drug programs to pharmaceutical companies, Peregrine was formed to focus on high-value, early-stage biotechnology opportunities. It saw potential in what Bhattacharjee was doing at UB.

“When we were first connected to Dr. Bhattacharjee and his laboratory through UB’s Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships team, we were impressed by the science, approach and its opportunity to be developed to address a large, important, unmet clinical need,” says Kyle Monroe, CEO of Channavix. “The business and scientific team that we have assembled for Channavix has a long history of working together and we are very excited for the opportunity to move these programs forward.” Bhattacharjee and Daurignac will continue to serve in key scientific advisory roles for Channavix.

Potential global impact

The Channavix pipeline includes two different programs for selective analgesia, both licensed from UB’s Technology Transfer office, part of Business & Entrepreneur Partnerships.

“The discoveries by Dr. Bhattacharjee enable new ways to inhibit pain pathways by selectively modulating neuronal signaling through local NaV1.8 inhibition and blocking CGRP [Calcitonin gene-related peptide] signaling while strongly minimizing adverse reactions, including addiction potential,” explains Jonathan Bourne, Channavix executive vice president. “Building from this very strong scientific foundation, we believe that these programs have the potential to profoundly improve the lives of people (and animals) suffering from pain.”

According to the company, both programs have shown significant reduction in pain signaling while sparing mechanical sensation and motor control. Animal models have also shown multiple weeks of pain relief after a single local injection. Possible pain therapeutic indications include acute and chronic pain, such as post-surgical, inflammatory, musculoskeletal and arthritic pain.

“The arthritic pain market is substantial and early data also show the potential for additional disease modifying benefits” Bhattacharjee says. “We are very proud of what we have achieved. Now, this is about getting non-opioid pain therapeutics to the people who need them.”