San Francisco Business Times – Seven years, $8 million and an ocean between clinical trials, two brothers and their small East Bay biotech company want to turn a reformulated hormone used to induce labor into a treatment for chronic migraines.
Trigemina Inc. — named for the effect its experimental drug has on the trigeminal nerve in the brain — recently started a 96-patient Phase II study in South America to show that its nasally administered version of oxytocin is effective, safe and well-tolerated.
The drug, called TI-001, might just provide relief for people with chronic migraines — defined as 15-plus migraines a month — as well as patients with trigeminal neuralgia, a rare but debilitating condition in which patients suffer unpredictable and intense stabbing sensations in their faces.
David Yeomans, Trigemina’s founder and director of pain research at the Stanford University School of Medicine, discovered the oxytocin peptide in literature and formulated a nasal spray when a fellow Stanford doctor sent a patient who suffered severe headaches daily. Within 20 minutes of receiving the spray, the patient’s headaches subsided for up to 24 hours.
A 2006 Australian study focused on episodic migraines, before research found that oxytocin works on trigeminal nerve receptors that increase with inflammation.
Trigemina is run by Charles Yeomans, David’s brother and a former investment banker and Navy intelligence officer.
Charles Yeomans was Trigemina’s first investor and found the $4.4 million from a Chilean venture investor, individuals in the Bay Area and Southern California, and asset management firm Perella Weinberg Partners that is helping the company finance the Phase II trial.
The trial in Chile and Argentina should report data by the end of the year.
San Francisco Business Times
June 14, 2013