05 March 2007

The Next Generation of Cortical Stimulants

Cephalon's drug Modafinil has been a hit with people who wanted to stay awake while remaining alert--pilots, soldiers, medical doctors, swing shift workers, students . . . But Cephalon cannot rest on its laurels and expect to stay on top in this market. Cortex Pharmaceuticals is developing a newer type of cortical stimulant--an ampakine called CX717. CX717 promises to revolutionise treatment of ADHD, age-related cognitive decline, and cognitive deterioration from sleep deprivation.

Cephalon's answer to CX717 is Nuvigil--the single isomer of the racemic drug Modafinil. It isn't clear that Nuvigil will be better in terms of better efficacy or fewer side effects than Modafinil, but it will allow Cephalon to patent a new drug in the same class--just when Modafinil's patent will be running out.

No, it is the new Ampakine that is being anticipated by most neuroscientists and mental health workers. This class of drugs may very well improve the outlook for sufferers of cognitive decline of several types, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, even congenital childhood diseases of cognition.

Hat tip gizmag, and Popular Science.

Update: Here's an interesting story on the stock price of Cortex Pharmaceuticals. The FDA recently halted trials of CX717 because of "tissue damage" in some test rats. It may be concluded eventually that the damage was actually caused by formaldehyde--quien sabe?

The interesting thing about this little setback is that the price of Cortex (COR) was recently trading for under US $2 a share, due to the FDA's continuing hold on CX717. If CX717 is finally approved, and proves itself even fractionally as important as many informed observers expect, that $2 price should shoot up very quickly.

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