WASHINGTON, July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence (CLAAD) praised Signature Therapeutics, Inc. today for taking a national lead in biopharmaceutical research and development to reduce prescription drug abuse. Signature Therapeutics is a privately held company developing next-generation abuse-deterrent prescription medications.
More than 2.7 percent of the U.S. population currently abuses prescription drugs. In 2010, prescription drug overdoses took the lives of 22,134 Americans. Since 2009, CLAAD has called for private-sector research into novel technologies to reduce prescription drug abuse.
Michael Barnes, executive director of CLAAD, said, "Signature Therapeutics has distinguished itself in a growing market for safer medications by thinking big."
Signature Therapeutics is creating novel innovations, including "prodrugs," which would resist common methods of drug abuse, such as melting and injecting, crushing and snorting, or chewing before swallowing. The company's pills are designed to be bioactivated, meaning that when taken by mouth, enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract trigger the release of the active ingredient. Administered in any other way, a pill would not produce euphoria or any other significant effect.
Signature Therapeutics intends to apply its prodrug technology beyond opioids to other classes of commonly abused medications that lack safety features, such as stimulants used to treat attention-deficit disorder. Opioid pain relievers are the most commonly abused prescription drugs, but the abuse of tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives is also harmful and prevalent. In 2011, the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam was the most commonly found drug in overdose cases in Georgia, according to an analysis of autopsies. A study at the University of Kentucky found that out of 1,811 undergraduates, 34 percent reported improper use of stimulants.
"Signature Therapeutics is the only company that I am aware of that is developing abuse-deterrent medications in a variety of drug classes," Barnes said.
Wes Sterman, CEO of Signature Therapeutics, said, "We are thrilled that CLAAD has recognized our commitment to raising the bar for abuse resistance."
About the Center for Lawful Access and Abuse Deterrence
CLAAD coordinates efforts to prevent prescription drug fraud, diversion, and abuse while advancing patient access to high-quality medical care. Follow @claad_coalition.
About Signature Therapeutics, Inc.
Signature Therapeutics is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company focused on creating best-in-class abuse-resistant prescription medications.