Pannexin-1 channel blocker,
a validated target

During the last decade, the research from many groups around the world, has contributed to our current understanding of Pannexin 1 as well as its involvement in many diseases.

Pannexin 1 channels are membrane channels, which are closed under normal, but open under pathophysiological conditions. Once open, they release ATP into the extracellular space with detrimental consequences. As part of the extracellular purinergic signaling, ATP activates purinoceptors, whose activation regulates cellular membrane potential and intracellular Ca2+ levels.

Discovery and validation of Panx1 opens path to develop selective Panx1 blockers to treat many severe diseases – Pannex Therapeutics leading development of effective Panx1 blocker

Overactivation of the Panx1-P2X7 signal some complex under pathological conditions, contributes to diseases like chronic pain, neurodegeneration, rheumatic immune diseases, inflammation, cancer and other diseases.

Blocking Pannexin 1 channels is a new pharmacological target and a new therapeutic approach to many severe diseases, with high unmet medical needs. Pannexin 1 channels have been vastly validated as a therapeutic target in animal models of many diseases.

To design and develop the best Pannexin 1 channel blockers we are using a modified version of rational drug design, using in silico models, channel docking studies with the 3D structure of human Panx1, ATP release tests and other screening tests.

We are developing a unique platform of first-in-class, highly effective and specific Pannexin1 blockers, to design specific candidates to target a variety of therapeutic areas/diseases.

Example of docking pose

Developing anti-addictive
painkillers to save lives

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is dicult to cure and very commonly, treatment is only partially effective, and is geared toward optimizing pain management to improve function and reduce suffering. It has one of the biggest negative impact on quality of life with a high burden on sufferers and their familiess. High annual cost for health care system and society is estimated to be $635 billion (USA). In general, there are two broad categories of medications used for pain management: non- opioids and opioid classes of medications. The dilemma of treating chronic pain lays with the ecacy/risk ratio of these options and the risk of undertreating pain, if pain cannot be reduced through non-opioid approaches Current treatment for chronic pain traditionally involves a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, muscle relaxant, surgical interventions as well as therapeutic exercise.

Chronic pain, opioid addiction
and Pannexin 1 channels.

Although discovered only during the last decade, the involvement of Pannexin 1 channels in chronic pain has been shown by several research groups, and has been validated by Dr. Bravo, the founder of Pannex Therapeutics, in animal models, showing that unspecific Pannexin1 channel blockers can significantly reduce chronic pain. In other animal models it could be demonstrated that mice without Pannexin1 expression (knock out model) and mice treated with an unspecific Pannexin1 channel blocker displayed no opioid addiction, after increase of morphine dosage. Therefore blocking Pannexin 1 channels could be a new approach to prevent opioid addiction.

Pannexin 1, a new target for many diseases

Selected publications

  • 1.Pannexin 1 Channels as a Therapeutic Target: Structure, Inhibition, and Outlook. Navis KE, Fan CY, Trang T, Thompson RJ, Derksen DJ.. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2020 Aug 5;11(15):2163-2172. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00333. Epub 2020 Jul 20. PMID: 32639715.
  • 2.A Feasible Target for Cancer Therapy. Extracellular ATP: Vultaggio-Poma V, Sarti AC, Di Virgilio F. Cells. 2020 Nov 17;9(11):2496. doi: 10.3390/cells9112496. PMID: 33212982; PMCID: PMC7698494.
  • 3.Pannexin-1 in the CNS: Emerging concepts in health and disease. Yeung AK, Patil CS, Jackson MF. J Neurochem. 2020 Sep;154(5):468-485. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15004. Epub 2020 Apr 6. PMID: 32162337.
  • 4.Pannexin 1: A novel participant in neuropathic pain signaling in the rat spinal cord. Bravo D, Ibarra P, Retamal J, Pelissier T, Laurido C, Hernandez A, Constandil L, Pain 155 (2014) 2108-2115
  • 5.Interactions of pannexin 1 with NMDA and P2X7 receptors in central nervous system pathologies: Possible role on chronic pain. Bravo D, Maturana, Pelissier T, Hernández A, Constandil L, Pharmacological Research 101 (2015) 86–93
  • 6.Gap junctions, pannexins and pain. Spray DC, Hanani M. , Neurosci Lett. 2019 Mar 16;695:46-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2017.06.035. Epub 2017 Jun 22. PMID: 28647288; PMCID: PMC6005766.
  • 7.Revisiting multimodal activation and channel properties of Pannexin 1. Chiu YH, Schappe MS, Desai BN, Bayliss DA., J Gen Physiol. 2018 Jan 2;150(1):19-39. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201711888. Epub 2017 Dec 12. PMID: 29233884; PMCID: PMC5749114.
  • 8.Pannexin-1 Channel Regulates ATP Release in Epilepsy. Shan Y, Ni Y, Gao Z. Neurochem Res. 2020 May;45(5):965-971. doi: 10.1007/s11064-020-02981-9. Epub 2020 Mar 13. PMID: 32170674.
  • 9.Human Pannexin 1 channel: Insight in structure-function mechanism and its potential physiological roles. Bhat EA, Sajjad N, Mol Cell Biochem. 2021 Mar;476(3):1529-1540. doi: 10.1007/s11010-020-04002-3. Epub 2021 Jan 4. PMID: 33394272.
  • 10.Purinergic signaling in nervous system health and disease: Focus on pannexin 1. Sanchez-Arias JC, van der Slagt E, Vecchiarelli HA, Candlish RC, York N, Young PA, Shevtsova O, Juma A, Tremblay MÈ, Swayne LA. P. Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Sep;225:107840. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2021.107840. Epub 2021 Mar 19. PMID: 33753132.
  • 11.The two faces of pannexins: new roles in inflammation and repair. Makarenkova HP, Shah SB, Shestopalov VI. J Inflamm Res. 2018 Jun 21;11:273-288. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S128401. PMID: 29950881; PMCID: PMC6016592.
  • 12.Structure of the full-length human Pannexin1 channel and insights into its role in pyroptosis. Zhang S, Yuan B, Lam JH, Zhou J, Zhou X, Ramos-Mandujano G, Tian X, Liu Y, Han R, Li Y, Gao X, Li M, Yang M., Cell Discov. 2021 May 4;7(1):30. doi: 10.1038/s41421-021-00259-0. PMID: 33947837; PMCID: PMC8096850.
  • 13.Pannexin-1 Channels as Mediators of Neuroinflammation. Seo JH, Dalal MS, Contreras JE. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May 14;22(10):5189. doi: 10.3390/ijms22105189. PMID: 34068881; PMCID: PMC8156193.
  • 14.Pannexin-1 channel opening is critical for COVID-19 pathogenesis. Luu, R., Valdebenito, S., Scemes, E., Cibelli, A., Spray, D. C., Rovegno, M., Tichauer, J., Cottignies-Calamarte, A., Rosenberg, A., Capron, C., Belouzard, S., Dubuisson, J., Annane, D., de la Grandmaison, G. L., Cramer-Bordé, E., Bomsel, M., & Eugenin, E. ( iScience, 24(12), 103478.