EncepHeal Therapeutics Announces Award from the National Institutes of Health Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network to Advance Innovative Medications to Treat Cocaine Addiction

WINSTON SALEM – EncepHeal Therapeutics, Inc. today announced it has been awarded a Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network (BPN) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop novel medications for cocaine addiction.

The grant has a potential maximum value of $3.3 million over four years. In addition to direct support, the NIH BPN may underwrite the cost of key research studies, manufacturing, and consulting services through BPN-sponsored-contracts.

EncepHeal Therapeutics, Inc. is developing novel drugs to treat patients suffering from cocaine use disorder, a serious health concern, which has seen a significant rise in cases during the present-day opioid crisis. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications to treat cocaine users, leaving these patients with few options to reduce their cocaine consumption. The novel drugs being developed by EncepHeal are being designed to act at dopamine transporters, the molecules in the brain that produce the effects of cocaine, to reduce cocaine craving, while not producing the addictive effects often seen in substance abuse therapeutics.

The BPN, part of the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, is a collaboration of NIH institutes and centers that support research on the nervous system with the goal of developing new neurotherapeutic medications. For this project, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the funding institute and key collaborator. BPN, through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), has provided this grant under U44 NS116931.

EncepHeal Cofounder and CEO Aaron Lazarus said, “We are thankful to have the support of the Blueprint Program, as well as the continued support of NIDA. This award will go a long way to help EncepHeal achieve its goal of advancing therapeutic measures to treat cocaine addiction.”

In addition to BPN and NIDA, EncepHeal is also supported by investments from YCombinator and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.


EncepHeal Therapeutics, Inc., based in Winston-Salem, NC, USA, is a privately held drug development company, focused on advancing new medications for the treatment of addiction. EncepHeal is currently in the preclinical stages of development with a small molecule technology to treat cocaine addiction. Please visit encepheal.com


The Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network provides non-dilutive support for small molecule drug discovery and development, from hit-to-lead chemistry through early clinical testing. Please visit the BPN website for more information.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse mission is to advance science on the causes and consequences of drug use and addiction and to apply that knowledge to improve individual and public health. Please visit the NIDA website for more information.


EncepHeal Therapeutics Inc.