Health Care

Major Grant Will Accelerate Startup's Work On Substance-abuse Treatment

By Jenny Callison, posted May 3, 2023
OpiAID officials (from left) David Reeser and Tyler Sugden (photo courtesy of OpiAID)
A Wilmington-based biotechnology startup has received a major grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health.
OpiAID, whose mission is to improve the lives and recovery of people with opioid use disorder (OUD), has announced receipt of a $2.8 million Fast Track grant. The funds will be used to study the biometrics of people in treatment for Opioid Use Disorder, to further develop and refine the company’s solution, and to test it through clinical trials.
“The goal of the study is to better understand the biometric changes that occur in individuals with OUD who are undergoing treatment,” the news release stated. “The findings will provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of different treatment approaches and help to improve the quality of care for people with OUD.”
OpiAID plans to use the Fast Track grant to do the work necessary to gain FDA approval for its solution so it can then be commercialized, according to OpiAID CEO David Reeser.
The $2.8 million will be released to OpiAID in two parts, Reeser said Wednesday. The first allocation of nearly $320,000 will support the first phase of the study. When that is completed successfully, the NIDA will release the remaining funds.  
“The idea of the ‘fast track’ is to get out the most promising and innovative solutions to address a problem,” Reeser said. “It’s the most competitive grant in the nation to win. You can get a perfect score [on the grant application] and not win.”
The company, co-founded by Reeser in 2018, employs 15 people and was the Health Care category winner in 2021 of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s Coastal Entrepreneur Award. Its early work has been supported by grants from the NIH and other government agencies.
In the upcoming study, OpiAID will collaborate with Wilmington-based Coastal Horizons Center, which provides mental health and substance abuse treatment in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties.
“Coastal Horizons is well known and well regarded,” Reeser said. “We will do clinical trials at their location, which is one of our research sites. They are going to be one of the most innovative clinics in the world; the first to leverage biometrics to improve care. They will literally be the example.”
The relationship with OpiAID and application of its data-based personal treatment plans will be beneficial for Coastal Horizons clients, officials say.
“…OpiAID's services have the potential to be a game-changer for providing specific client interventions,” Rachel Crouse, clinical director at Coastal Horizons, said in the release. “OpiAID’s timely and actionable insights support improved clinical decision-making, allowing for just-in-time interventions to prevent relapse and potentially save lives.”
The opioid epidemic continues to be a major public health crisis. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services website states that statistics from 2021, the most recent available, show that 4,041 people in North Carolina lost their lives to overdose that year, a 22% increase from the previous year.
“With more than 107,000 deaths from opioid overdoses reported in the United States in 2022 alone, and with fentanyl’s prevalence, things are only getting worse,” OpiAID chief operating officer Tyler Sugden said in the company’s release. “OpiAID is committed to finding new and innovative ways to address this crisis, and this notice of award will help to support that goal.”
Ico insights



Navigating the Road to Retirement: The Indispensable Benefits of a Well-Crafted Financial Plan

Jason Wheeler - Pathfinder Wealth Consulting
Screenshot2022 01 06at338 162234623

Food is the Foundation for Prosperous Communities

Girard Newkirk - Genesis Block

The Wilmington Construction Market: Trends, Recognition, and Challenges

Jim Hundley - Thomas Construction Group

Trending News

Lower Cape Fear LifeCare Welcomes New Board Members

Staff Reports - May 28, 2024

Novant To Sell, Leaseback Four Wilmington-area Properties In Statewide Effort

Emma Dill - May 28, 2024

CVB Announces Tourism Award Winners

Staff Reports - May 28, 2024

United Bank To Acquire The Piedmont Bank

Audrey Elsberry - May 28, 2024

UNCW Honors Faculty Awards Recipients

Staff Reports - May 28, 2024

In The Current Issue

Area YMCA Continues To Expand

The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina has about 13,000 members; approximately 11,000 live in the greater New Hanover County area....

As Hurricane Season Heats Up, How Do Builders, Laws Prep Homes For Storms?

The damage caused by Hurricane Florence in 2018 throughout the region put a bigger spotlight on the need for the construction industry to fa...

Restaurants Serve More Outdoor Space

Outdoor dining spaces add another dimension to dining in the Port City and, in some cases, take a restaurant’s brand to new heights. ...

Book On Business

The 2024 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!



2024 Power Breakfast: The Next Season