Experts on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, are converging on Kansas City this weekend to meet with a Kansas native who has returned from the East Coast looking to build a drug company that can tap into a $14 billion market for treating the condition.
Shane Schaffer, the CEO of Cingulate Therapeutics, said this weekend’s meeting of the company’s seven-member scientific advisory board will include experts from the United States, Canada and Scotland.
“We’re definitely excited to bring these people into Kansas City and most of them have never been here before,” Schaffer said. “So they’re going to get some good barbecue too.”
Schaffer grew up in Hays and went to the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy before working for some of the world’s largest drug makers. He’s since returned and established a Cingulate office in Kansas City, Kan.
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The company recently completed Phase 1 human trials on drugs that Schaffer believes will be more effective and have fewer side effects than current ADHD treatments.
“We’re working to create ideal ADHD medications that act fast, last the entire active day and have really nice safety and tolerability,” Schaffer said.
Schaffer is hoping this weekend’s meeting will help attract a second round of investment.
The results of the early stage trials already helped Cingulate strike a deal this month with Camargo Pharmaceutical Services, an Ohio-based company that helps drug makers navigate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process through a faster pathway known as 505(b)(2).
Schaffer said partnering with Camargo means an FDA approval process that often takes up to 10 years might take Cingulate only two or three, depending on trial results, opening the possibility of getting Cingulate’s products to market by 2020.
That could save millions of dollars and get the company quicker access to a burgeoning market for ADHD drugs. A report from the Persistence Market Research firm estimated that the global market for such drugs was $14 billion in 2014 and is projected to grow to $25 billion by 2024 as countries in Europe and South America adopt mental health manuals that have a low threshold for diagnosing ADHD.
Schaffer said his company has three employees in Kansas City right now and may be looking to add about 10 more high-paying positions in the coming year.
He started Cingulate in New Jersey in 2013 and the company maintains an office there in an area that is a hotbed for pharmaceutical research. But Schaffer calls himself “a Kansas guy” and said he envisions the Cingulate location next to the University of Kansas Medical Center becoming a model for future pharmaceutical investment in the area.
“I wanted to bring this back to Kansas City and build a company here,” Schaffer said. “A pharmaceutical company can and will be successful in Kansas City.”