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Vantia Therapeutics reveals dysmenorrhoea treatment structure

Vantia Therapeutics announced recently that it had revealed the structure of oral small-molecule drug candidate VA111913, a potential new treatment for dysmenorrhoea, for the first time.

Dysmenorrhoea, or painful periods, affects millions of women. Period pains are caused by abnormal contractions of the uterus during menstruation and are associated with raised vasopressin levels.

VA111913 has been shown in preclinical studies to reduce excessive contraction of smooth muscle, such as that found in the uterus wall, by blocking vasopressin 1a receptors. VA111913 has the potential to be the first drug that directly targets the cause of dysmenorrhoea in the uterus.

Vantia discovered VA111913 by screening its library of compounds, then modified the compound to make sure it could be taken as a pill (for convenience), to minimize the chances of side-effects and to make it more potent in interacting with the relevant vasopressin 1a receptors in the uterus wall. VA111913 was patented recently and represents a novel structural class of compounds.

In its first trials in women, Vantia showed VA111913 to be safe and well tolerated; Phase II trials are currently underway in Europe and the USA to evaluate how it controls pain and other symptoms of dysmenorrhoea. Results from this trial are expected in the second half of 2010, and if results from this and further studies are successful, the drug could be available in four years.

Dysmenorrhoea affects a large number of women for whom there are currently no targeted therapies; treatments that are in common use, however, include over-the-counter painkillers (e.g. ibuprofen) or oral contraceptives used ‘off-label’. Current therapies are not completely effective for all women and sometimes do not provide satisfactory relief of symptoms, particularly in women with more severe pain. It has been estimated that the market opportunity for a targeted drug for the prophylaxis and treatment of dysmenorrhoea is at least $1 billion per year.

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Pharmacology/ Therapeutics


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