RTX (non-opioid control of terminal cancer pain with a single injection)
Resiniferatoxin (“RTX”) is an experimental non-opioid TRPV1 agonist agent developed as a single injection pain treatment. RTX has the potential to be a first-in-class drug addressing currently intractable pain in a novel and unique way, by targeting the nerves responsible for the chronic debilitating pain signal transmission. RTX directly interacts with afferent nerve cells without affecting sensations such as touch, pressure, acute prickling pain, vibration sense or muscle coordination function. RTX can potentially help patients with terminal cancer pain, after a single epidural injection, by permanently blocking the pain signal transmission from the tumor tissue to the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) in the spinal cord, without the undesirable side effects associated with high and repeated doses of opioids. If opioids remain part of the therapeutic arsenal for these patients, RTX has the potential to significantly reduce the amount and frequency of opioids use.
The mechanism of action for RTX is well understood and has been validated by extensive data in both animals and humans. RTX has been granted Orphan Drug Status by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of end-stage diseases, including intractable cancer pain. Sorrento has conducted a positive Phase Ib clinical proof of concept trial with the National Institutes of Health under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) which showed improved pain and reduced opioid consumption after intrathecal administration (directly into the spinal cord space). The company is initiating a Phase Ib open-label single-dose escalation safety study, applied as a single epidural injection, in adults with intractable pain associated with cancer by the end of 2017.