Cough is a medical problem for which no new drugs have been approved in the U.S. in more than 50 years.

The prevalence of chronic cough — defined as lasting more than eight weeks — is estimated to be more than 10% of adults in the United States. While underlying etiologies may contribute to cough in some of these patients (such as asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and upper airway cough syndrome), many patients are not well-controlled for their cough even with treatment for these underlying causes. No therapies are approved for the treatment of chronic cough.


Bradanicline, Attenua’s lead compound in Phase 2 clinical development, is a highly selective agonist of the α7 subtype of neuronal nicotinic receptors (NNRs). α7 NNR activation has been shown to modulate levels of several neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, including gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA). An α7 NNR-dependent activation of GABAergic interneurons in the brainstem is the proposed mechanism of action for bradanicline in cough. Currently, the most commonly used antitussives are opioids, but any benefits provided by these agents is offset by their significant safety liabilities and abuse potential. Bradanicline is in development as a centrally acting antitussive, which holds promise for cough relief and significant social benefits and safety for patients with cough.

For more information on the Phase 2 clinical trial, please visit

Cough experts highlight urgent need for new therapies

Drs. Jacky Smith, Peter Dicpinigaitis and Fan Chung, along with Attenua CEO Dr. Michael Kitt, discuss the lack of therapies available and need for new treatments for chronic coughers, who may cough up to thousands of times a day because of over-sensitized nerve pathways.