Rev Up: CMXTwenty enters phase 2 on opioid alternative

Lane Brostrom

Last updated on June 18th, 2019 at 11:11 am

CMXTwenty

Leadership: Lane Brostrom, CEO

Headquarters: Wauwatosa

What it Does: Developing opioid alternative drug

Founded: 2008 (as Cytometix Inc.)

Employees: Four

Next goal: Complete phase 2 trials on CMX-020; Secure big pharma partner

Funding: Four angel funding rounds of undisclosed amounts. Public filing for $2 million equity round in 2010.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 46 Americans die every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids.

Wauwatosa-based CMXTwenty is trying to help solve the opioid crisis. The company is developing a drug it says is a non-addictive alternative to opioids, and is working on phase 2 trials for both intravenous and oral forms of its medication.

CMXTwenty recently completed its Phase 1 maximum tolerated dose human clinical study for the intravenous version of its CMX-020 drug in Australia. The company established a subsidiary there because the Australian government subsidizes medicine development if early trials show promising results, and its regulatory system can be more efficient.

“They have a diversified regulatory system; they have over 50 committees that can approve studies,” said Lane Brostrom, chief executive officer of CMXTwenty. “What that means is we can conduct clinical studies in Australia and then submit them to the FDA.”

So far, maximum tolerated dose studies have been promising, matching the efficacy of remifentanil, a potent opioid used in surgeries.

“We can match this remifentanil at a very high dose and we don’t see any adverse events,” Brostrom said. “We don’t even see a drug feel at that level.”

That lack of a “drug feel” is important to avoiding addiction, he said. CMX-020 is similar to taking an ibuprofen, where the user doesn’t feel the drug actively working.

“The euphoria is a factor in addiction,” Brostrom said. “What we see with CMX-020 are people in our clinical studies who are given CMX-020 intravenously, even at the highest doses, can’t even feel the effect of the drug.”

Brostrom, who founded a program called TechStar in 2001 to help launch startups from Milwaukee-area research institutions, established CMXTwenty under the name Cytometix Inc. in 2008 as part of that initiative.

“Over a five-year period of time we launched 15 companies, and CMX was one of those,” he said.

Eventually, the hope for CMXTwenty is to find a pharmaceutical partner to help get CMX-020 to market, he said.

“We’re in discussions with pharmaceutical partners, larger pharmaceutical companies,” Brostrom said. “We’ve had some good conversations and we hope to partner sometime soon.” ν

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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