Ampakines work by binding to particular receptors in the brain, called AMPA-type glutamate receptors. This boosts the activity of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, and makes it easier to encode memory and to learn. And because of their short half-life - hours in this case - ampakines have few side effects.
The drug, which will have to undergo further clinical trials before being approved, is being considered as a possible treatment for narcolepsy, jet lag, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and even Alzheimer's disease.
* products will be sold by NV Organon and Les Laboratoires Servier
* Aug 2003, private placement at $1.50/share - $4.5M
* Jan 2004, private placement at $2.75/share - $17.5M
* Dec 2004, private placement at $2.66/share - $10.4M
* from warrants, possible additional income of $6.85M+$14.6M+$6.35M = $27.8M
* 5 years before marketable product.
* DARPA sponsorship - the military applications are the most obvious if effective at enhancing wakefulness.
* Testing against Alzheimer's.
* They don't have any big company linkages yet, which may explain their low valuation.
The key thing to note: Ampakines increase cognitive ability without the associated negative side effects of most stimulants. A huge potential market, with some clinical trial efficacy shown already, with no major movement in the stock price as of this writing. This looks to me to have a reasonable risk/reward, but it is speculative and long term. As with all biopharmaceutical companies, they might go bust.