The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in the US has awarded a $2m grant to Amygdala Neurosciences to support investigational new drug (IND) application and early development of the aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2) inhibitor for the treatment of alcohol use disorder.

According to the 2021 survey by the NIAAA, 29.5 million people aged 12 years and older have experienced alcohol use disorder. Current treatments include behavioural therapy, medication, support groups, and counselling.

ANS-858 is an investigational selective and reversible ALDH2 inhibitor, which has been reported to reduce craving and drug-seeking behaviour in preclinical studies.

Amygdala CEO Brent Blackburn said in the press release: “This award will enable the development of ANS-858 through pre-clinical evaluation required of an investigational new drug (IND) application to the FDA.”

There are multiple drugs currently in development for treating alcohol use disorder. These mainly investigate the use of psychedelic compounds, including Beckly Psytech’s Phase IIa trial (NCT05674929) for BPL-003, and Clearmind Medicine’s Phase I/II trial for CMND-100.

Other ALDH2 targeting drugs currently in development include Novo Nordisk’s NN-6020 small interfering RNA (siRNA) compound in Phase I.

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As per GlobalData’s analysis of the alcohol use disorder competitive landscape, the disease market is highly genericised. Furthermore, the drug pipeline is mostly early staged, with only 1.5% of drugs in Phase III. The late-stage pipeline drugs include R-Pharm’s odelepran currently in pre-registration, and Phase III Adial Pharmaceuticals’ ondansetron hydrochloride.

GlobalData is the parent company of Clinical Trials Arena.