Sparian Biosciences is a clinical stage CNS-focused biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel, transformational therapies. Diseases of the central nervous system represent a major unmet need but recently there has been little innovation and development. Sparian was co-founded by Jeff Reich, MD and Gavril Pasternak, MD PhD to develop therapeutics targeting the brain through innovative science and novel drug discovery.
Currently, we have 5 programs addressing various aspects of the opioid crisis - a crisis in urgent need of innovation. Two of our programs come from the Pasternak Lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, one comes from the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience, one comes from a collaboration with Washington University, and one comes from University of Florida. Core to our strategy, we have ongoing scientific and clinical collaborations with MSKCC, Washington University, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, Rutgers University Medical School, University of Florida, and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Sparian has a strong relationship with NIH / National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and has received two grants worth nearly ~$20M.
Sparian is based out of BioLabs@NYULangone in NYC, a national biotech incubator, and is a member of the StartupNY program.
Our lead program is a first-in-class arylepoxamide for the treatment of pain. Arylepoxamides target the recently discovered AEA receptor (AEAr). The lead candidate is SBS-1000, a novel analgesic discovered in the Pasternak Lab. It demonstrates potent analgesia in acute and chronic pain, but lacks the side effects associated with traditional highly potent pain relievers. Development of SBS-1000 through a proof-of-concept phase 1b is funded via a NIH/NIDA HEAL grant. SBS-147 is an oral formulation in development that is also supported by the same grant. We feel the successful development of a new class of potent non-opioid analgesic is fundamental to addressing the core of the opioid crisis. The phase 1 clinical trial for SBS-1000 began in early 2023.
MOR Agonist/DOR Antagonists
Our second program focuses on the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD). SBS-226 is a synthetic derivative of mitragynine pseudoindoxyl. The mitragynine alkaloids are a broad class of active compounds found in the leaf of the Kratom plant. Kratom has been widely used across the world and over time for “medicinal value” and most recently as a “natural” remedy for opioid withdrawal. SBS-226 is an NCE that builds upon our deep knowledge of the chemistry and biology in this space. It is a weak MOR agonist but potent DOR antagonist. The combined profile translates into a compound that ameliorates opioid withdrawal without causing respiratory depression, self-reinforcement behavior or abuse potential. If we can successfully translate the preclinical findings to humans, SBS-226 has the potential to be a significant addition to the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) armamentarium. The development of SBS-226 is funded by a NIH/NIDA HEAL grant.
Irreversible MOR Antagonists
Our third program addresses acute opioid overdose. As the opioid crisis and opioid related deaths have shifted from prescription oral narcotics to highly potent illicit fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives (i.e., synthetic opioids), so has the need for more potent and longer acting reversal agents. SBS-371 is an irreversible MOR antagonist that can match the grave threat posed by synthetic opioids. In addition, the compound also has the potential to be used as a prophylaxis agent in the setting of deliberate widespread environmental toxic exposures.
Peripheral DOR Bitopic Agonists
Our fourth program addresses chronic neuropathic pain. While opioids are effective in acute pain, neither opioids nor other analgesics are effective in treating chronic neuropathic pain. SBS-406 is a peripherally acting bitopic DOR agonist that has demonstrated efficacy in preclinical models of neuropathic pain. As a peripherally acting drug we expect to avoid the centrally acting side effects that have derailed the development of DOR agonists in the past. The compound comes from the lab of Dr. Majumdar at Washington University and is part of our ongoing collaboration with our science co-founders.
Sigma Antagonist / DAT Inhibitor
Our fifth program addresses the growing stimulant use disorder (StUD) epidemic (e.g., methamphetamine, cocaine, and Rx stimulants). StUD affects ~3.2M people in the US and is involved in ~57K overdose deaths per year, yet there are no FDA approved therapies for the disease. SBS-518 is a first-in-class agent targeting the sigma receptor and dopamine active transporter (DAT). Preclinically, we have demonstrated that dual antagonism at sigma and inhibition of DAT can decrease stimulant use and prevent elevated dopamine levels in animals exposed to stimulants. SBS-518 has the potential to transform the underserved population of patients with StUD. SBS-518 was developed at University of Florida (UF).