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RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. Announces New Data Regarding the Use of AMPAkines as Potential Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury

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Glen Rock, N.J., May 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCQB: RSPI) (“RespireRx” or the “Company”), a leader in the discovery and development of innovative and revolutionary treatments to combat diseases caused by disruption of neuronal signaling, is pleased to announce that Drs. Sabhya Rana, Michael Sunshine and David Fuller presented a poster entitled “Low Dose Ampakine Stimulates Diaphragm Activity and Increases Tidal Volume Following Cervical Spinal Cord Injury in Non-anesthetized Freely Behaving Rats” at the Annual Experimental Biology Conference, which was conducted online this year April 27-30.

The Company has been working with Dr. Fuller at the University of Florida who has funding from NIH, to evaluate the use of our AMPAkines for the treatment of compromised motor function in spinal cord injury (“SCI”). In prior studies, the Fuller Laboratory has shown that acute treatment with AMPAkines CX717 and CX1739 can increase inspiratory phrenic motor output in rat models of incomplete cervical spinal cord injury (SCI), when studied under anesthesia in a surgical setting. AMPAkines were observed to increase motor nerve activity under baseline conditions as well when given in conjunction with acute intermittent hypoxia, a treatment known to stimulate synaptic plasticity.

The results presented at the conference were conducted in awake, freely moving rats, a condition analogous to that experienced by SCI patients in the real world. At 4 and 14 days following C2 cervical spinal hemi-section injury, rats were given single, low dose (5 mg/kg) intravenous injections of CX717, CX1739 or vehicle. At 4-days following injury, both AMPAkines increased diaphragm motor nerve activity (EMG) ipsilateral to the injured side during both the baseline breathing and the acute respiratory challenge. At 14-days following injury, both AMPAkines produced sustained increases in ipsilateral diaphragm EMG output and increased output during respiratory challenge.

According to Dr. Fuller, “Cervical SCI results in respiratory compromise which is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity. These animal models of motor nerve function following SCI support proof of concept for a new treatment paradigm using AMPAkines to improve motor functions in patients with SCI.”

Dr. Arnold Lippa, Chief Scientific Officer of the Company said that, “We are continuing our collaborative preclinical research with Dr. Fuller to determine whether other forms of motor activity might be improved. At the same time, we are planning a clinical trial program focused on developing AMPAkines for the restoration of certain motor functions in patients with SCI. The Company is working with researchers at highly regarded clinical sites to finalize a Phase 2 clinical trial protocol, which we intend to submit to the FDA.”

Tim Jones, CEO and President of the Company said that “The ongoing collaboration between RespireRx and the University of Florida has generated potentially groundbreaking data in the treatment of spinal cord injury. We are very excited by the role that our AMPAkine product candidates may play in further progressing much needed treatments for SCI.”

A copy of the poster presented at the Annual Experimental Biology Conference may be viewed on our website at www.respirerx.com/presentations/

About RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc.

RespireRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a leader in the discovery and development of medicines for the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders, with a focus on treatment options that address conditions affecting millions of people, but for which there are few or poor treatment options, including obstructive sleep apnea (“OSA”), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), epilepsy, chronic pain and recovery from spinal cord injury (“SCI”), as well as certain neurological orphan diseases. RespireRx is developing a pipeline of new drug products based on our broad patent portfolios for two drug platforms: (i) pharmaceutical cannabinoids, which include dronabinol, a synthetic form of ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“∆9-THC”) that acts upon the nervous system’s endogenous cannabinoid receptors and (ii) neuromodulators, which include AMPAkines and GABAkines, proprietary compounds that positively modulate (positive allosteric modulators or “PAMs”) AMPA-type glutamate receptors and GABAA receptors, respectively

The Company holds exclusive licenses and owns patents and patent applications or rights thereto for certain families of chemical compounds that claim the chemical structures and their uses in the treatment of a variety of disorders, as well as claims for novel uses of known drugs.

ResolutionRx: Pharmaceutical Cannabinoids.

RespireRx is developing dronabinol, ∆-9-THC, a synthetic version of the naturally occurring substance in the cannabis plant, for the treatment of OSA, a serious respiratory disorder that impacts an estimated 29.4 million people in the United States according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (“AASM”), published in August 2016. OSA has been linked to increased risk for hypertension, heart failure, depression, and diabetes, and has an annual economic cost in the United States of $162 billion according to the AASM. There are no approved drug treatments for OSA.

Two Phase 2 clinical trials have been completed demonstrating the ability of dronabinol to significantly reduce the symptoms of OSA and, subject to raising sufficient financing (of which no assurance can be provided) and pending the outcome of an intended meeting with the FDA, RespireRx believes that it will be able to commence a pharmacokinetic study for a to-be-developed new formulation followed by a Phase 3 clinical study for the treatment of OSA with the new formulation. Because dronabinol is already FDA approved for the treatment of AIDS related anorexia and chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting, the Company further believes that its re-purposing strategy would only require approval by the FDA of a 505(b)(2) new drug application (“NDA”), an efficient regulatory pathway that allows the use of publicly available data.

EndeavourRx: Neuromodulators

GABAkines. Under a License Agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation, Inc. (“UWMRF”), an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, RespireRx has licensed rights to certain selectively acting GABAkines that have shown impressive activity in a broad range of animal models of refractory/drug resistant epilepsy and other convulsant disorders, as well as in brain tissue samples obtained from epileptic patients. Epilepsy is a chronic and highly prevalent neurological disorder that affects millions of people world-wide. While many anticonvulsant drugs have been approved to decrease seizure probability, seizures are not well controlled and, in as many as 60-70% of patients, existing drugs are not efficacious at some point in the disease progression. We believe that the medical and patient community are in clear agreement that there is desperate need for improved antiepileptic drugs. In addition, these GABAkines have shown positive activity in animal models of migraine, inflammatory and neuropathic pain, as well as other areas of interest. Because of their GABA receptor subunit specificity, the compounds have a greatly reduced liability to produce sedation, motor incoordination, memory impairments and tolerance, side effects commonly associated with non-specific GABA PAMs, such as Valium® and Xanax®.

AMPAkines. Through an extensive translational research effort from the cellular level through Phase 2 clinical trials, the Company has developed a family of novel, low impact AMPAkines, including CX717, CX1739 and CX1942 that may have clinical application in the treatment of CNS-driven neurobehavioral and cognitive disorders, spinal cord injury, neurological diseases, and certain orphan indications. From our AMPAkine platform, our lead clinical compounds, CX717 and CX1739, have successfully completed multiple Phase 1 safety trials. Both compounds have also completed Phase 2 proof of concept trials demonstrating target engagement, by antagonizing the ability of opioids to induce respiratory depression. AMPAkines are PAMs of the AMPA glutamate receptor.

AMPAkines have demonstrated positive activity in animal models of ADHD, results that have been extended translationally into statistically significant improvement of symptoms observed in a Phase 2 human clinical trial of CX717 in adults with ADHD. At present, the major pharmacotherapies available for ADHD are made up of two types of drugs. Stimulants, such as amphetamine, rapidly produce robust effects, but suffer from side effects typical of stimulants, including tolerance, dependence, withdrawal and abuse. For these reasons, stimulants are scheduled by the FDA. Non-stimulants, such as Straterra® (atomoxetine) tend to be less effective than stimulants, with a much longer (approximately 4 – 8 week) latency to onset of action. In a number of animal and human studies, CX717 and other AMPAkines did not display any stimulant properties typically associated with drugs like amphetamine. In the Phase 2 ADHD clinical trial, statistically significant therapeutic effects were observed within one week. Therefore, we believe AMPAkines may represent a novel, non-stimulant treatment for ADHD with a more rapid onset of action than alternative non-stimulant treatment options.

Additional information about the Company and the matters discussed herein can be obtained on the Company’s website at www.RespireRx.com or in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbor created thereby. These might include statements regarding the Company’s future plans, targets, estimates, assumptions, financial position, business strategy and other plans and objectives for future operations, and assumptions and predictions about research and development efforts, including, but not limited to, preclinical and clinical research design, execution, timing, costs and results, future product demand, supply, manufacturing, costs, marketing and pricing factors.

In some cases, forward-looking statements may be identified by words including “assumes,” “could,” “ongoing,” “potential,” “predicts,” “projects,” “should,” “will,” “would,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “expects,” “plans,” “contemplates,” “targets,” “continues,” “budgets,” “may,” or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology, although not all forward-looking statements contain these words, and such statements may include, but are not limited to, statements regarding (i) future research plans, expenditures and results, (ii) potential collaborative arrangements, (iii) the potential utility of the Company’s products candidates, (iv) reorganization plans, and (v) the need for, and availability of, additional financing. Forward-looking statements are based on information available at the time the statements are made and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from the information expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements in this press release.

You should read these risk factors and the other cautionary statements made in the Company’s presentations, press releases and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) as being applicable to all related forward-looking statements. We cannot assure you that the forward-looking statements in this press release will prove to be accurate and therefore prospective investors are encouraged not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. You should read this press release completely but should also read the Company’s recent annual report on Form 10-K in its entirety. Other than as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, even though our situation may change in the future.

We caution investors not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement that speaks only as of the date made and to recognize that forward-looking statements are predictions of future results, which may not occur as anticipated. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements and from historical results, due to the risks and uncertainties described in this press release, our recent annual report on Form 10-K and other filings made with the SEC, as well as other risks and uncertainties that we may consider immaterial or do not anticipate at this time. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions regarding the Company’s business and technology, which involve judgments with respect to, among other things, future scientific, economic, regulatory, and competitive conditions, collaborations with third parties, and future business decisions, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond the Company’s control. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable, we do not know whether our expectations will prove correct. Our expectations reflected in our forward-looking statements can be affected by inaccurate assumptions that we might make or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties, including those described in this press release and our filings with the SEC. These risks and uncertainties are not exclusive and further information concerning us and our business, including factors that potentially could materially affect our financial results or condition, may emerge from time to time.

For more information about the risks and uncertainties the Company faces, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in our recent annual report on Form 10-K as of December 31, 2020. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. The Company does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to update any forward-looking statements or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to any statements to reflect new information or future events or developments. We advise investors to consult any further disclosures we may make on related subjects in our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our current reports on Form 8-K that we file with or furnish to the SEC.

Company Contact:

Jeff Margolis
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Secretary Telephone: (917) 834-7206
E-mail: jmargolis@respirerx.com