Targeted painkillers could reduce side effects 

Bottles of painkillers

A University of Queensland spin-off company hopes to develop precision painkillers that are more accurate and less harmful to the liver.

Professor Trent Munro, from the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), is the scientific co-founder of Cassowary Pharmaceuticals, which is creating a new range of hyper-targeted pain medications.

“This type of targeted therapy reduces the potential side effects and safety issues associated with current pain treatments, and will also mean fewer doses are required,” Professor Munro said. “Creating drugs with these attributes could change the lives of millions of people who suffer from chronic neuropathic pain.”

Cassowary Pharma’s drug candidate targets a molecule thought to be important in how the human body senses pain.

“By building on the pioneering discoveries of Emeritus Professor Maree Smith, and using the critical tools developed in the laboratory of UQ’s Professor Greg Monteith, we can create a drug that is very accurate, avoids the risk of liver toxicity, and lessens the overall medication load,” Professor Munro added.

After receiving funding from the Medical Research Future Fund’s (MRFF) national $40 million CUREator Scheme, Cassowary Pharma will be recruiting candidates for clinical trials over the next 18 months. 


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