Scripps Scientists Get $3 Million to Develop Less Brutal Pain Drugs

​Researchers at the Jupiter campus of the Scripps Research Institute might have some new tricks for treating pain that aren't accompanied by the nasty side effects associated with drugs like OxyContin.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse awarded a team of Scripps researchers more than $3 million to carry out studies on four new classes of chemicals.

The chemicals might be able to act in a way similar to morphine -- binding to the same receptors in the brain to lessen pain -- without causing addiction, constipation, and other ills that South Florida is all too familiar with, like overdoses.

The chemicals could be an economic boon if they are proven safe and effective. Big Pharma is clamoring for new pain drugs that people can't abuse or won't want to abuse. But developing such a miracle pill is challenging, especially given the creativity of addicts when it comes to getting high. 

Brian Bandell of the South Florida Business Journal notes:

If the Scripps scientists succeed, they would not only help patients, but they would create a highly competitive drug in one of the largest markets in the pharmaceutical industry. When Florida and local governments paid to lure Scripps to Florida in 2003, it was the promise of spinning off such discoveries into companies that generated much of the excitement.

On the other hand, some companies would prefer to overlook the whole addiction, overdose, and pill-mill thing to bring a pure and extremely potent form of hydrocodone to the masses.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Sweeney