New drug to treat meth addiction receives major NIH grant

Nov. 2, 2021

A drug that could become the first-ever to treat methamphetamine use disorder and overdose is moving through clinical trials with backing from the National Institutes of Health.

The medication — currently dubbed ITX-m200 — is a monoclonal antibody that was developed to keep methamphetamine in the bloodstream and out of a user’s brain, which could reduce the euphoric rush associated with the drug and help prevent overdose. Discovered at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), development of the drug is now being supported with the help of a three-year $13.8 million grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and led by a UAMS biotech startup called InterveXion Therapeutics, according to a report from the school.

After showing promising results in a phase 2 trial that demonstrated how ITX-m200 impacted concentrations of methamphetamine in the body, it will now head into a new phase 2 trial to further demonstrate efficacy. 

The drug also received a fast track designation from the FDA in 2016. According to InterveXion, the number of Americans struggling with methamphetamine use disorder rose by 62% between 2015 and 2019.