Otologic developing sound solution to hearing loss

Oklahoma City firm developing hearing loss solution.
by Scott Meacham Published: March 18, 2014

Imagine if there was a drug that a soldier could swallow immediately after an explosion that would prevent or heal hearing loss.

That’s the potential impact of Otologic Pharmaceutics, Inc. (OPI).

The Oklahoma City firm is working in collaboration with Hough Ear Institute (HEI) and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) to develop NHPN-1010, a combination of two well-understood and safe compounds, one of which already has FDA approval and the other which comes out of research at OMRF.

Scientists from Hough Ear Institute and OMRF found that the two compounds together show great promise in preventing noise-induced hearing loss — the No. 1 disability for the military. Administering the compound orally immediately after the damaging event may allow the ear to heal, which could make the difference between whether a person can hear in the future or not.

And it’s not just the military that could benefit.

Approximately 20 percent of the population reports some notable degree of hearing loss, with about 60 percent of those being in school or active in the workforce.

OPI anticipates entering Phase I human trials by mid-year.

“There are all sorts of reasons to be in this business, but the most important thing is that we are here to help patients with a serious problem,” said Clayton Duncan, Otologic’s CEO. “This is a team effort. There is no other way. It takes so much to bring a drug to patients — so many resources — but we actually have most of them here in Oklahoma. We will bring the resources to bear to do it.”

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by Scott Meacham
President and CEO of i2E Inc.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state appropriations from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology....
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An estimated 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have significant sensor-neural hearing loss due to loud noise.

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