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Company Overview

RespireRx Pharmaceuticals has multiple drug development programs that are targeted towards the treatment of breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea and brain-mediated breathing disorders such as central sleep apnea and drug-induced respiratory depression.

The first key clinical development area is the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, a large and growing market with no available drug treatment. Sleep apnea is the repeated cessation of breathing during sleep, caused either by obstruction of the upper airway in the throat (obstructive sleep apnea, OSA) or by lack of signaling from the brain (central sleep apnea, CSA, see below). Individuals with sleep apnea often have excessive daytime sleepiness, and are at greater risk for cardiovascular conditions such as stroke, hypertension and ultimately heart failure. The Company is developing oral dronabinol to treat OSA.  A pilot clinical study has shown the ability of dronabinol to reduce the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), an hourly sleep apnea score, in patients with moderate-severe OSA.   A larger 120 patient clinical study investigating the ability of dronabinol to reduce OSA currently is being confucted at the University of Illinois and other centers, funded by a grant from the National Institute of Health to the University.

A second key program involves the development of positive allosteric modulators of the AMPA-type glutamate receptor (PAM-A compounds) which can prevent or alleviate respiratory depression, a potentially lethal side effect of opiate analgesics or anesthetic agents such as propofol, without affecting the beneficial analgesic or anesthetic activity of such agents.  We refer to these compounds as Ampakines.  Ampakines work by normalizing the brain circuitry involved in the control of breathing.  RespireRx has recently identified and patented several new chemical series of PAM-A compounds that have the ability to enhance respiratory rhythmogenesis or ‘pacemaking’ when it is reduced by CNS depressants.   In addition, RespireRx plans to develop at least one of the Ampakines for CSA based upon results of a small study in sleep apnea where the Ampakine showed activity only in CSA and mixed sleep apnea.