By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - NASA has signed an agreement with a California-based startup to develop and market a nasal spray for motion sickness, the U.S. space agency said on Friday.
NASA will work with privately owned Epiomed Therapeutics of Irvine, California, on the nasal spray, which has been shown to be a fast-acting treatment for motion sickness.
About half the astronauts who fly in space develop space motion sickness, with symptoms that anyone nauseated or light-headed from more terrestrial forms of travel will recognize.
NASA has been working on giving astronauts an edge: a fast-acting medicine called intranasal scopolamine, or INSCOP. The drug also can be administered as a tablet, via a transdermal patch or injected, but a nasal spray can work faster and more reliably, NASA said.
"NASA and Epiomed will work closely together on further development of INSCOP to optimize therapeutic efficiency for both acute and chronic treatment of motion sickness," NASA researcher Lakshmi Putcha, with the Johnson Space Center in Houston, said in a statement.
In addition to partnering with NASA, Epiomed is working with the U.S. Navy to test the nasal spray.
Epiomed will assume responsibility for sponsorship of future clinical trials and for Federal Drug Administration approvals, NASA said. There has been no word on whether a prescription would be required for the nasal spray.
(Editing by Tom Brown, Gary Hill)