Acer Expands Therapies for Disorders

Acer Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ACER) reported shares retreat Wednesday. The company, a pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of therapies for serious, rare and life-threatening diseases with significant unmet medical needs, today announced the expansion of ACER-801 (osanetant) into a new indication, for the reduction of the frequency and severity of acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Acute stress disorder refers to the body’s immediate response to trauma, whereas PTSD is defined as the long-term effects of trauma.

Studies conducted at Emory University screened thousands of genes that were activated in the brains of mice following fear conditioning events. The top gene identified was Tac2, which is responsible for the production of the peptide, Neurokinin B (NKB), in mice. The researchers showed that the Tac2 gene, expressed by neurons specifically within the amygdala, is required for modulating fear memories, and that NKB, and its specific receptor, NK3R, are also involved in the consolidation of fear memories. By administering the potent and specific NK3R antagonist, osanetant, they were able to block fear memory consolidation shortly after exposure to a trauma, potentially providing a novel therapeutic approach for disorders with altered fear learning such as PTSD.1

“Immediately – hours to several days – after trauma exposure, memory remains in a labile state, called the memory consolidation period, and blocking fear memory consolidation after trauma exposure could lower the frequency and severity of PTSD in trauma patients,” said Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

ACER shares lost three cents, or 2.1%, to $1.42