Seattle drug company working on non-addictive, non-opioid painkiller

Jun 20, 2017, 5:30 AM | Updated: 10:59 am
Photo by The Javorac, CC Images.
LISTEN: Seattle drug company working on non addictive, non opioid pain killer

According to a recent report by the New York Times, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The Times reports 19 percent more drug overdose deaths in 2016 than in 2015 and the numbers for 2017 continue to rise.

Many of these deaths are the result of opioid painkillers, which is why Seattle drug company Kineta is developing a non-opioid painkiller with no addictive qualities.

“It doesn’t have a generic name yet so we call it KCP-400,” Kineta’s CEO, Shawn Iadonato, explained. “It’s a non-opioid for the treatment of pain. It’s different than things like morphine, OxyContin, things like that. What’s real exciting about the drug is it’s very effective pain treatment but it also has anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.”

Kineta’s vice president of Research and Development, Kristin Bedard, says there’s nothing quite like it on the market now.

“KCP-400 will be the first in this class of drugs,” she said. “It is very unique because not only is it analgesic, which means that it can relieve the pain, but it has these disease modifying effects. So it can really treat, not just the symptoms, but what’s causing the chronic pain.”

Iadonato says it can treat ailments such as lower back pain, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and chemotherapy induced neuropathies for cancer patients.

“Those are the types of pain that are longer term pain that are really harder to treat with opioids because opioids typically stop working after a while. People need to take more, they develop tolerance and it becomes riskier and riskier to the patient,” Iadonato said.

Bedard explains why KCP-400 does not have the addictive quality other opioid painkillers do.

“The drug targets the peripheral nervous system,” Bedard said. “So it targets where a patient has the occurrence of pain but it doesn’t go to the brain so you don’t have those issues with side effects, addiction, that type of thing.”

The drug originates from snails.

“It was originally identified in a cone snail that grows off the coast of the Caribbean,” Iadonato said. “Now it’s a fully synthetic product. Maybe half the drugs that we take come from natural products. Animal venoms are a really rich source of drugs. It’s a poison to the fish that the [snail] hunts. The snail has a little spear that it shoots at the fish and that paralyzes the fish and gives the snail time to eat it.”

To give you an idea of how many addictive opioid painkillers are out there:

“I think last year there were 260 million opioid prescriptions written so that’s essentially one prescription for every adult in the United States,” Iadonato said.

KCP-400 has been performing well on animals and next year it will go into human trials. It’s still about four or five years away from being approved to hit the market.

  • listen to rachel belleTune in to KIRO Newsradio on weekdays to hear Rachel Belle.
Who is Rachel Belle?

Your Last Meal

Rachel Belle

Kat Lieu bakes in her home kitchen. (Photo by Jake Young)...
Rachel Belle

A Renton woman inspired bake sales around the world to stop Asian hate

Renton's Kat Lieu created Subtle Asian Baking on Facebook to create a community conversation around baking Asian treats, but it transformed into a fundraising effort that's raised tens of thousands of dollars. 
3 days ago
Owner Sophia Walker believes in fitness AND doughnuts. (Photo courtesy of Sophia Walker)...
Rachel Belle

Seattle’s No Judgement Fitness is a safe space for the LGBTQ community to workout

No Judgement Fitness is mirror free and focuses on body positivity, not weight loss. 
9 days ago
(Brooke Lark/Unsplash)...
Rachel Belle

New LinkedIn data shows more women are promoted to manager in Seattle than any other city

Women in Seattle are 80% more likely than the national average to advance to manager. 
11 days ago
Marsha and Matt Owen opened Skein & Tipple, in Clinton, last Tuesday. (Photo by Rachel Belle)...
Rachel Belle

Skein and Tipple: Whidbey Island’s newest craft cocktail bar is also a yarn store

Yarn up front, cocktails in back! When the liquor control board told the owners they must have live entertainment, they cooked up Tuesday Knit Night. 
16 days ago
Irene Crawford (left) looks at Beatles memorabilia in her little sister Barbara Horn’s scrapbook....
Rachel Belle

Seattle sisters saw the Beatles in 1964, return to the same venue tonight to see Paul McCartney

Barbara Horn and Irene Crawford reminisce about seeing Beatles at Seattle Center in 1964.
19 days ago
(Photo by Ingrid Barrentine, courtesy of Alaska Airlines)...
Rachel Belle

Alaska Airlines is the first US carrier to introduce gender neutral uniforms

Alaska Airlines' new policy gives also all employees permission to wear makeup, earrings, fingernail polish, and gender-neutral uniforms.
25 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
Seattle drug company working on non-addictive, non-opioid painkiller