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Building blocks for new medications

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

The University of Graz is seeking a technology partner to manufacture promising pharmaceutical components

Painkillers and cancer medications, psychotherapeutic drugs, allergy medications – many substances used in the medical sciences are manufactured with the help of piperidin-4-ones. These are intermediates created by reactions with derivatives of ammonia. Werner Seebacher from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Graz has discovered an alternative reaction pathway to synthesise new kinds of piperidin-4-ones that have the potential to significantly increase the range of therapeutic options they offer. The University of Graz is currently looking for a partner from the pharmaceutical industry to realise the potential of this technology.

The opiod fentanyl, which is used in anaesthesia and in the treatment of acute and chronic pain, is one of the most important drugs made with piperidin-4-ones. However, these intermediates are also essential for the manufacture of numerous other drugs with a wide range of medical applications.
“The synthesis technology we have developed gives us access to variants of piperidin-4-ones that cannot be obtained using traditional reaction pathways”, explains Werner Seebacher. “What is special about our piperidin-4-ones is that they can be further modified as required. This opens up a range of new therapeutic possibilities”, says Seebacher, emphasising the significance of this technology, for which a European patent is now pending.

Further research is needed to discover exactly what those possibilities are. The University of Graz is currently looking for an industrial partner to produce these promising molecular components on a large scale and to press ahead with their development into new substances.

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