SAN DIEGO, CA – September 25, 2019 – The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) awarded AnaBios the ASPIRE Design Challenge award in the category entitled, “Biological Assays for Translational Innovation in Pain, Opioid Use Disorder and Overdose.” Funds from the award will be used to study ex vivo human models of pain for translational drug discovery.

“AnaBios is honored to receive this recognition from NCATS for providing important innovations in preclinical pain research,” said Dr. Andre Ghetti, Chief Executive Officer of AnaBios. “We appreciate the recognition from the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative and are firmly committed to finding new, non-opiate solutions for chronic pain.” Dr. Ghetti will attend the National Institutes of Health (NIH) ceremony on October 28, 2019 in Bethesda, MD to receive the prestigious award on AnaBios’ behalf.

The NIH launched the HEAL Initiative in April 2018 to improve prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction and enhance pain management. The NIH HEAL Initiative aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction. AnaBios’s award is one of 375 grant awards across 41 states made by the NIH in fiscal year 2019 to apply scientific solutions to reverse the national opioid crisis.

“It’s clear that a multi-pronged scientific approach is needed to reduce the risks of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain and provide more flexible and effective options for treating addiction to opioids,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who launched the initiative in early 2018. “This unprecedented investment in the NIH HEAL Initiative demonstrates the commitment to reversing this devastating crisis.”

A lack of comprehensive knowledge about chronic pain mechanisms has led to the failure of novel compounds to translate from preclinical pain animal models to humans. This has created major challenges in the development of new non-addictive analgesic medications. Indeed, cross-species differences in pharmacological response and analgesic efficacy are well documented and common. Therefore, to address this issue, AnaBios created a novel, preclinical discovery strategy that explores the physiology and pharmacology of ex vivo human sensory neurons isolated from dorsal root ganglia of ethically consented organ donors.

AnaBios’ unique human pain platform recapitulates key features of neuropathic and inflammation-related pain observed in clinic. Our research assesses the efficacy and nociceptive profile of new compounds by a combined approach of higher throughput electrical field stimulation fluorescence-imaging of sensory neurons and detailed characterization of their ion channel functionality using current-clamp electrophysiological recordings.  RNA sequencing provides insight of these ion channels at the molecular level.

AnaBios utilizes its cell-based model to differentiate the effects of analgesic drugs that have shown varying degrees of success in clinical trials. Prospectively, this approach can be used to rank drug candidates based on analgesic efficacy, as well as to predict the most appropriate pain indication for proof-of-concept studies in clinical trials.

About AnaBios

Located in San Diego, California, AnaBios aims to establish the safety and efficacy of novel compounds through its advanced, human-focused translational technologies. AnaBios primarily focuses on areas of high, unmet medical need, including cardiac disease, pain and itch. In addition to working with Fortune 500 biotech companies, CROs and academia, AnaBios drives an internal drug discovery platform via in-licensed programs from partners in the pharmaceutical industry. For more information about AnaBios, visit