Kuo working toward solution to opioid crisis

Retirement has changed over the past couple of decades. More and more boomers, for example, are using retirement to pursue long-held passions or to launch entrepreneurial careers. Lawrence Kuo ՚74 is right in step with this boomer trend, and his passion has the goal of reducing deaths from opioid overdoses.

Dr. Lawrence C. Kuo“I am retired from the pharmaceutical industry. I am a managing partner and co-founder of a biotech startup as a ‘retirement hobby,’” says Kuo, a physics graduate from Cornell College.

That biotech startup is MEBIAS Discovery, which was founded in 2016. As managing partner, Kuo brings 23 years in pharma to the team along with being a co-inventor on 18 patents, having 115 peer-reviewed publications, and as an editor of three books.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 115+ people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. A depressed respiratory system due to the use of opioids plays a big role in opioid-related deaths.

MEBIAS is attempting to develop G-protein ‘biased’ agonists that aim to not trigger respiratory depression and won’t have the abuse potential associated with the current opioids on the market. MEBIAS secured grant funding from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Given the overwhelming societal need for new pain drugs, we are excited to advance our lead candidate towards IND filing [submission of an Investigational New Drug application to the United States Food and Drug Administration] and human clinical Phase 1 studies,” says Dr. Kuo. “These compounds could redefine the risk-benefit paradigm of opioids and thereby lessen the opioid crisis our nation is facing.”