Project Leader: Angelo Reggiani, PhD
The body produces a family of lipid messengers, the fatty acid ethanolamides, which exert profound analgesic and antiinflammatory effects. These natural substances are destroyed by an intracellular enzyme called N-acylethanolamine acid amidase (NAAA). Working with research groups in the USA and Italy, we have discovered and characterized several classes of potent and selective NAAA inhibitors. One class of NAAA inhibitors identified at D3 is orally active and exhibits marked anti-inflammatory properties in animal models of systemic inflammation. These compounds are currently undergoing optimization with the objective of developing new therapeutic agents that might potentially be used in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), multiple sclerosis and other human inflammatory conditions.