Crinetics Pharmaceuticals Awarded NIH Fast-Track Grant to Develop Somatostatin Receptor Agonist Drugs for Chronic Pain

SAN DIEGO – April 27, 2015 – Crinetics Pharmaceuticals (“Crinetics”), an innovative therapeutics company focused on endocrine diseases and cancers, announced today that it has been awarded Phase I of a Fast-Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of up to $2.7MM from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of orally-available, small molecule somatostatin receptor agonist drugs for the treatment of chronic and neuropathic pain disorders.

“Chronic pain imposes an enormous physical, emotional, and socioeconomic burden on patients and their care-givers,” said Scott Struthers, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Crinetics. “In the United States, the annual cost of health-care expenditure and work days lost due to chronic pain is estimated to be greater than $100B. This award is an outstanding example of the NIH’s strategy to encourage small companies to create innovative new therapeutics that address areas of high unmet medical need and help replenish the pharmaceutical industry drug pipeline. We are proud to be a part of that effort.”

Somatostatin receptor subtypes are emerging as important biological inhibitors of pain transmission pathways in the nervous system. There are many functional similarities with the opioid receptors that are the targets of important pain drugs like oxycodone, but the biology of somatostatin receptors suggests they should not have similar abuse potential. While injectable somatostatin based drugs have been available to treat certain rare endocrine tumors, Crinetics is developing orally active somatostatin drugs specifically designed to activate the subtypes of somatostatin receptors that inhibit pain transmission pathways.

“This program builds on our successful program to develop small molecule drugs that target somatostatin receptors for the treatment of endocrine tumors,” said Frank Zhu, Vice President of Chemistry at Crinetics. “By understanding and modulating sst-receptor subtype specificity and selectivity through structure-based modifications, we have developed a novel series of selective molecules that are tailored for the somatostatin receptor subtypes involved in inhibiting pain. If we are successful, the drug that results from this program will be an important advance for millions of patients suffering from chronic, neuropathic pain conditions.”

About NIH Fast-Track Awards

In the NIH Fast-Track pathway, both Phase I and Phase II grant proposals are submitted and reviewed together. The Fast-Track mechanism expedites the decision and award of SBIR Phase II funding for scientifically meritorious applications that have a high potential for commercialization. The Phase I and Phase II portions are considered separate funding agreements under the Fast-Track Initiative. As such, Phase I awardees must demonstrate achievement of certain milestones and that they meet all of the eligibility criteria for an SBIR award before the Phase II award is issued.

About Crinetics Pharmaceuticals

Crinetics Pharmaceuticals discovers and develops novel therapeutics targeting peptide hormone receptors for the treatment of endocrine diseases and cancers. Many of its successful drug discovery programs have been supported by small business research grants from the NIH. Its lead small molecule program for acromegaly and neuroendocrine tumors has potential to substantially improve the standard-of-care, and its deep therapeutic pipeline shows promise across therapeutic areas of cancer, pain, and women’s health. Crinetics is an employee-owned company, founded and operated by a team of scientists with a proven track record of drug discovery and development.