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HOUSTON — NASA's Johnson Space Center and Epiomed Therapeutics have signed an agreement to develop and commercialize a NASA-crafted, fast-acting nasal spray to fight motion sickness.
Under the Space Act Agreement, Epiomed will formulate the drug, called intranasal scopolamine, or INSCOP. Astronauts often experience motion sickness in space. As a result, NASA has conducted extensive research into the causes and treatments for the condition. Scopolamine is effective and can be administered as a tablet or injected. With a precise dosage, the NASA spray formulation has been shown to work faster and more reliably than the oral form.
Scopolamine is currently approved as a prescription-only transdermal patch called Transder Scop, manufactured by Novartis, and is indicated to help prevent nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness.
"NASA and Epiomed will work closely together on further development of INSCOP to optimize therapeutic efficiency for both acute and chronic treatment of motion sickness which can be used by NASA, the Department of Defense and world travelers on land, in the air and on the seas," stated Lakshmi Putcha, developer of the treatment strategy at Johnson.
A gel formulation of INSCOP was developed and tested under a Space Act Agreement between Johnson and the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Fla. Results from that trial were published in the journal Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine in April 2010 that suggest INSCOP is a fast-acting and reliable way to prevent and treat motion sickness.
The U.S. Navy is working on an agreement with Epiomed to test the nasal spray. NASA and Epiomed will collaborate on clinical trials related to the Federal Drug Administration requirements. NASA is transferring sponsorship of future clinical trials and FDA approvals to Epiomed, which will supply the product for use by NASA and others.