INCHING TOWARD A CURE

In 2014, Lai and her colleagues were among a select group of scientists to receive an NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant. With this funding, they tested a large number of alternatives to Lai’s original “prototype” compound, and successfully identified a set of compounds that reduced PTSD-like symptoms in rodents without eliciting severe side effects.

Since then, Anagin has continued to grow. Additional scientists and entrepreneurs joined the company, including Jaswant Gidda as the CEO, Jim Schulz as the COO and CFO, and an outstanding Board of Directors, establishing Anagin as an independently-run business.

Now, a second $3 million SBIR grant, funded by the NIMH, places them closer to their goal of developing a new drug to treat PTSD. The team will design improved versions of their compounds that can be taken orally.

Lai and her colleagues at Anagin hope to find a candidate compound that will be ready for testing in human patients. If the compound successfully makes it through clinical trials and into the market, it would be the first drug of its kind to safely target an underlying mechanism of PTSD.

This candidate drug could one day transform the lives of millions of PTSD patients.

To read Part 1 of this series on the PTSD drug and startup development process, go to the Spring 2015 Update.