Pharmather Inc (CSE: PHRM) this morning announced that it has filed for orphan drug status with the United States Food and Drug Administration for the use of ketamine in the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia. The global market for such a treatment is believed to reach US$908 million by 2026.
Postherpetic neuralgia, or PHN, is a complication of shingles that is essentially a chronic neuropathic pain syndrome. On a technical level, shingles is caused by the reactivation of the herpes zoster virus that has remained dormant following its primary infection, also known as chickenpox.
With one million cases of shingles believed to occur annually in the US, 15% to 20% of these cases are believed to develop PHN. It’s described by those affected as having persistent burning, sharp and jabbing pain, or deep and aching pain in the same location as the original shingles rash. It can occur up to 90 days after the original rash is present. Unfortunately for those afflicted by PHN, it can last for days, weeks, or even extend to years, with no single treatment currently being available.
Ketamine has been proposed in the use against PHN by the company as a result of previous studies conducted. Previously, the use of Ketamine supported a hypothesis that NMDA receptors are involved in the control of the syndrome. The result is that ketamine holds the potential of being a primary effective treatment for the syndrome effectively.
“Our FDA orphan drug application for ketamine to treat PHN is complementary to our growing psychedelic drug development pipeline for rare disorders. We are focused on building a unique ketamine franchise targeting unmet medical needs such as Parkinson’s disease, depression and pain. We are leveraging scientific and clinical data to advance the development of ketamine through the FDA approval process, as well as carving our niche in the rapidly evolving psychedelic pharmaceuticals market.”
Fabio Chianelli, CEO of Pharmather
Pharmather Inc last traded at $0.16 on the CSE.
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