July 14, 2021 – “For us, it’s cool — really cool — because we’re maybe a few people doing that,” Nguyen said.

The team is poring over various computer-generated models with a program called Rosetta and microscopes to see how to change the protein into a new drug.

So far, the results are eye-opening just like the spiders they’re testing.

“It’s already showing promise to be as potent as morphine but without the side effects of opioids,” Yarov-Yarovoy said. This local portion of a National Institutes of Health initiative could take some time — at least five years — before any new meds from it hit the shelves.

“All of these steps, all of these years are worth it to create new pain therapeutic that is safe,” Yarov-Yarovoy said.

UC-Davis said this isn’t the only new pain medication to be created there.

In 2020, the FDA gave a fast-tracked designation to a non-narcotic drug developed by another professor for humans and companion animals.