Circuit Therapeutics, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based provider of optogenetics, a transformational technology, has been awarded a $2.7 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue optogenetic therapies for peripheral nervous system indications.
The award, part of DARPA's Electrical Prescriptions (ElectRX) program, will enable Circuit to pursue R&D projects related to its treatment for neuropathic pain.
Circuit’s patented optogenetics technology allows targeted and immediate modulation of specific nerves and neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems, which has led to a number of successful preclinical programs to directly treat nervous system disorders. The ElectRx award allows Circuit to expand into yet another therapeutic area, by facilitating preclinical studies that optimize gene therapy and light delivery to nerves that control neuropathic pain.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity to work with DARPA, an agency that has funded a number of revolutionary technologies through the years,” said Fred Moll, chairman and CEO of Circuit Therapeutics. “Chronic pain and other conditions of the peripheral nervous system cause terrible problems for our troops, our veterans, and society at large. With DARPA’s help, we hope to create therapies that have never existed before therapies that reduce chronic pain and give people more quality time with their friends and families.”
DARPA’s ElectRX program has as its goal the development of a closed-loop system that treats diseases by modulating the activity of peripheral nerves. The program ultimately envisions a complete system that can be tested in human clinical trials aimed at conditions such as chronic pain, inflammatory disease, post-traumatic stress and other illnesses that may not be responsive to traditional treatments.