CODA Biotherapeutics Announces Research Collaboration With The Facial Pain Research Foundation


SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 20, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --CODA Biotherapeutics, Inc., a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a gene therapy-mediated chemogenetic platform, today announced the formation of a strategic research collaboration with the Facial Pain Research Foundation (FPRF) with the goal of utilizing CODA's chemogenetic gene therapy platform to identify and develop potential new therapies and cures for trigeminal neuralgia and related neuropathic pain. As part of the agreement, the FPRF has provided an undisclosed grant to a leading academic-based research institution to support preclinical research of CODA's chemogenetically controlled inhibitory ion channels in neuropathic pain.

Under the collaboration, CODA will also work with the FPRF to establish a research continuum that is dedicated to identifying the mechanisms underlying neuropathic facial pain and to developing groundbreaking therapeutic strategies that aim to permanently stop the pain of trigeminal neuralgia and related neuropathic pain syndromes.

"CODA has begun testing its chemogenetically controlled inhibitory ion channels in preclinical models of neuropathic pain and this support from the FPRF will help assist the continuation of our efforts to demonstrate transformative results for patients," said Orion Keifer, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President, Discovery and Translational Research, CODA.

According to the Facial Pain Association, trigeminal neuralgia is one of the most painful afflictions known to medical practice. A rare, progressive condition, it is a disorder of the fifth cranial (trigeminal) nerve. The classic form of trigeminal neuralgia causes extreme, sporadic, sudden burning or shock-like facial pain with episodes that last from a few seconds to as long as two minutes, and these attacks can occur in quick succession or in volleys lasting as long as two hours. Although it can occur at any age, including infancy, trigeminal neuralgia occurs most often in people over the age of 50, and is more common in women than men. Pharmacological treatment options include anticonvulsant medications used to block nerve firing and tricyclic antidepressants used to treat pain. Attacks often worsen over time and become more frequent, and eventually pain-free intervals disappear and medication to control the pain becomes less effective. Patients opt to have surgery, which may or may not be effective, as well as can exacerbate the pain.

Michael Pasternak, Ph.D., Founding Trustee of FPRF added, "We are delighted that CODA has joined with the FPRF in advancing our mission to find cures for trigeminal neuralgia and related neuropathic pain syndromes – a multitude of challenging conditions for which no cures exist. We believe that CODA's novel approach has the potential to make a significant difference in the lives of many in pain and are excited to work together on this important research collaboration."

"CODA is aligned with the FPRF in the mission to develop innovative treatments and cures for patients suffering from trigeminal neuralgia and other types of neuropathic pain for which there exists significant unmet medical need," said Michael Narachi, President and Chief Executive Officer, CODA. "This unique collaboration will help further advance our chemogenetic platform in neuropathic pain toward the clinic, and we are honored to be partnering with the FPRF on this important initiative to improve patients' lives."

About Neuropathic Pain
More than 19 million Americans suffer from chronic neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or disease of the sensory system, leading to chronic debilitation and loss of quality of life. Current pharmacological therapies for chronic neuropathic pain, such as opioids, anticonvulsants, and tricyclic anti-depressants, provide little relief while having significant side effects and a potential for addiction. Invasive nerve stimulation therapies require batteries and wires that need maintenance and carry a risk of infections and other complications, while offering limited efficacy. Surgeries that ablate areas of the peripheral and central nervous system are a last resort and can have permanent adverse effects.

About the CODA Platform
CODA's chemogenetic platform aims to reverse the aberrant neuronal activity underlying many neurological disorders. With chemogenetics, dysfunctional neurons are modified using optimized adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors delivered directly to them by standard-of-care neurosurgical procedures. The AAV vectors encode ligand-gated ion channels (chemogenetic receptors) that are highly responsive to specific proprietary small molecule therapeutics but are otherwise inactive. The activity of these receptors, and thus the aberrant activity of the modified neurons, is controlled in a selective and tunable manner through administration of the small molecule to generate significant therapeutic benefit with minimal side effects.

About CODA Biotherapeutics 
CODA Biotherapeutics, Inc., is a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing an innovative gene therapy platform to treat neurological disorders and diseases. The Company is creating the ability to control neurons with its revolutionary chemogenetics-based technology. CODA is located in South San Francisco, CA. For more information, please visit

About The Facial Pain Research Foundation
In 2011, the FPRF stepped up to undertake a more hopeful paradigm for neuropathic facial pain conditions like Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN). By sponsoring and funding research aimed at stopping the debilitating pain, these first-ever research studies are the biggest leap towards finding the cause(s) and lasting cure(s) for TN in the last 1,000 years! The Foundations' efforts include: Sponsoring and urgently raising funds for 9 life-altering pain studies underway. Establishing and overseeing a consortium of the worlds' leading pain scientists. Operating as a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that delivers 95-98% of all contributions from donations or grass roots events towards research funding. Building momentum by providing inspiration and hopeful encouragement to sufferers, caregivers, volunteers and invested others through news, interviews and progress updates via on-line & social media venues.



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