Novel Derivatives of Docosahexaenoylethanolamide as Therapeutics for Neuronal Disorders

This technology provides derivatives of Docosahexaenoylethanolamide (synaptamide or DEA) which have increased potency and hydrolysis resistance as compared to DEA (structures of these derivatives are available upon request), as well as methods of using these derivatives to promote neurogenesis, neurite growth, and/or synaptogenesis. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid that accumulates in the brain during development, has been shown to play a key role in learning and memory development. Studies have also shown that DEA, a metabolite derived from DHA is very potent in accelerating neuronal growth and development. The inventors have discovered that the novel DEA derivatives they have designed are even more potent than DEA or DHA in accelerating neuronal growth, synaptogenesis and development. The inventors have shown that treatment of progenitor neural cells with some of these novel DEA derivatives leads to an increase in the amount of somatic neurons produced after differentiation. These novel compounds can be developed as therapeutics for conditions such as trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, brain and spinal cord injuries, and peripheral nerve injuries for rehabilitation.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Agents to promote neurogenesis, neurite growth, and synaptogenesis.
  • Therapeutics for neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
  • These derivatives of DEA provide increased potency and hydrolysis resistance compared to DEA.

Erika Englund (NCATS)
Juan Marugan (NCATS)
Samarjit Patnaik (NCATS)
Hee-Yong Kim (NIAAA)

Intellectual Property:
PCT Application No. PCT/US13/32333
US Application No. 61/624,741

Kim HY, et al. PMID 21281269
Kim HY, et al. PMID 21810478
Cao D, et al. PMID 19682204

Collaboration Opportunity:

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate or commercialize this technology. For collaboration opportunities, please contact Dr. Juan Marugan at or Dr. Krishna Balakrishnan at

Licensing Contact:
Suryanarayana Vepa , Ph.D.
NIH Office of Technology Transfer
Phone: 301-435-5020

OTT Reference No: E-070-2012/0

Updated: Feb-27-2014