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Aether secures $1.7 Mn Fast-track grant

May 15, 2018

Aether Therapeutics, an Austin-based, innovative new biotech company developing a first-in-class preventative treatment for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, was awarded a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).  The total SBIR award proceeds in two phases and provides up to $1.7 Million to support the development of its lead compound, 6BMX, with the ultimate goal of rapidly finishing late pre-clinical studies to advance and support an Investigation New Drug Application. 


6BMX has been validated in rodent models, as well as non-human primates, and has demonstrated its preferentially entry into the fetal brain to protect the developing fetus from the adverse effects of opioid exposure.  Simultaneously, 6BMX does not affect the mother, as it is peripherally circulated within the mother.  This approach has the potential not only to suppress NAS symptoms after birth, but also to prevent developmental abnormalities and premature birth as a result of opioid exposure.


An Epidemic

Every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal, often prematurely with developmental problems and potential long-term adverse effects including cognitive impairment. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is a significant problem affecting infants born to mothers suffering from opioid addiction which has skyrocketed in recent years as a result of the opioid epidemic plaguing this country.  Since 2000, the number of babies affected by NAS has increased nearly 5-fold.


About 6BMX

6BMX is a first-in-class treatment strategy and the first drug of its kind to focus on treatment and prevention of NAS during the pregnancy and has the additional benefit of working with existing treatment practices of maintenance therapy. 


About Aether

Aether Therapeutics is an emerging biotechnology company based in Austin, Texas.  The Aether team combines a wealth of successful drug development experience with a leading researcher at The Ohio State University. 


Rick Hawkins, Chairman, is a career life sciences entrepreneur and has considerable experience in managing nascent companies, drug development, and pharmaceutical and biotechnology research.  He has founded over 10 biotech and medical device companies and is a master at bringing them to a successful exit.


Brian Cummings, President and COO of Aether Therapeutics, has started dozens of technology companies and headed technology commercialization offices at The University of Texas, The Ohio State University, and University of Utah, and brings his extensive commercialization and venture capital experience as a current team member at Alta Ventures.  Brian also founded Technium, an intellectual property marketplace that uses deep technology solutions and analytics to identify and maximize the commercial value of deep technologies; Technium analyzed the IP space for NAS treatment and Dr. Sadee’s research scored off the charts, which led to the quick assembly of this team to seize this unique technological opportunity. 


Dr. Wolfgang Sadee, Inventor and CSO, is the Felts Mercer Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Chair, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, and Director, Center for Pharmacogenomics, at the Ohio State Medical Center and Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Sadee’s research focuses on pharmacogenomics of drug response and toxicity, leading the XGEN group at OSU Dr. Sadee has published over 300 research papers and monographs.

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