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Jean M. Bidlack, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-5600

Fax: (585) 273-2652

Research Labs

Faculty Appointments



Discovery of Samidorphan, a medication currently in multiple Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials:

In collaboration with Dr. Mark P. Wentland at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the main goal of our research is to design, synthesize and characterize oral, long-acting modulators of opioid G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) as medications to treat cocaine abuse and other central nervous system disorders in humans. A common structural feature of the large majority of opioids is a phenolic-OH group (see prototypic opioid structure below) that plays a crucial role in molecular recognition via H-bonding to a histidine residue of an opioid GPCR. For many opioids, however, this OH group is responsible for poor oral bioavailability and/or short half-life via O-glucuronidation. In 2001, we published the first report that a carboxamide group (CONH2) was an effective replacement for this prototypic phenolic-OH group of opioids. In addition to high affinity binding to opioid GPCRs, certain carboxamido-substituted opioids have much improved pharmacokinetic properties (relative to their phenolic-OH counterparts) as a consequence of high metabolic stability.

Since 2001, our research group has focused on capitalizing on this discovery to achieve our main goal. Our first-generation opioid modulator in this series was 8-carboxamidocyclazocine (8-CAC) and a next generation agent is samidorphan (formerly referred to as ALKS 33). 8-CAC produced analgesia in mice for 16 hours in comparison to morphine which produces analgesia for less than 2 hours. Our publications describing these discoveries as well as a wealth of structure-activity relationship data are catalogued in the PubMed link found below.

In September 2006, Rensselaer signed a license agreement granting Alkermes Inc. - a biotechnology company now based in Ireland - exclusive rights to a library of opioid compounds discovered by our team. The Bidlack lab continues to work with Alkermes to discover new opioids that may be pharmacotherapeutics. Alkermes recently announced the initiation of multiple phase 3 clinical studies of ALKS 5461 (samidorphan in combination with buprenorphine) for treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track status for ALKS 5461. Alkermes also announced the initiation of multiple phase 2 clinical studies of ALKS 3831, a novel oral atypical antipsychotic drug candidate designed to be a broad spectrum treatment for schizophrenia. ALKS 3831 is composed of samidorphan in combination with the established antipsychotic drug, olanzapine. See the following press releases from Alkermes for details:

Alkermes Announces Initiation of FORWARD-3 and FORWARD-4 Efficacy Studies in Pivotal Program for ALKS 5461 for Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Alkermes Announces Initiation of ALKS 5461 Pivotal Clinical Program for Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Alkermes Receives Fast Track Designation for ALKS 5461 for Major Depressive Disorder

Alkermes Announces Initiation of Second Phase 2 Clinical Study of ALKS 3831, a Novel Broad-Spectrum Oral Antipsychotic

Alkermes Announces Initiation of Phase 2 Clinical Study of ALKS 3831, Designed to Be a Broad Spectrum Oral Antipsychotic for the Treatment of Schizophrenia



BA | Skidmore College
Biology - Chemistry

MS | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent

PhD | Univ Rochester Sch Med/Dent


2010 - Present
College of CSR Reviewers
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health

Excellence in Research Award
Sponsor: University of Rochester

University Dean's Award for Meritorious Service in Ph.D. Defenses
Sponsor: University of Rochester

Distinguished Service Award
Sponsor: Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology

Periclean Alumna Scholar Award
Sponsor: Skidmore College

The Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Education
Sponsor: University of Rochester

1998 - 2008
NIH Senior Scientist Award
Sponsor: National Institute of Health

Wallace O. Fenn Mentor Award
Sponsor: University of Rochester

Periclean Scholar Award
Sponsor: Skidmore College

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Patent Title: Treatment of Cocaine Abuse Using N-Substituted Derivatives of Morphinan
Patent #: 7,291,628
Issue Date: Nov 06, 2007
Country: United States
Invented By: Jean M Bidlack, Xia-Hui Gu, John L Neumeyer

Patent Title: N-Substituted Derivatives of Morphinan and Uses Thereof
Patent #: 6,844,438
Issue Date: Jan 18, 2005
Country: United States
Invented By: Jean M Bidlack, Xia-Hui Gu, John L Neumeyer

Patent Title: Compositions and Methods for Inhibiting G Protein Signaling
Patent #: 8,975,259
Issue Date: Mar 10, 2015
Country: United States
Invented By: Jean M Bidlack, Burns C Blaxall, Alan V Smrcka

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Journal Articles

Stowell RD, Sipe GO, Dawes RP, Batchelor HN, Lordy KA, Whitelaw BS, Stoessel MB, Bidlack JM, Brown E, Sur M, Majewska AK. "Noradrenergic signaling in the wakeful state inhibits microglial surveillance and synaptic plasticity in the mouse visual cortex." Nature neuroscience.. 2019 Oct 21; Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Bidlack JM, Knapp BI, Deaver DR, Plotnikava M, Arnelle D, Wonsey AM, Toh MF, Pin SS, Namchuk MN. "In Vitro Pharmacological Characterization of Buprenorphine, Samidorphan, and Combinations Being Developed as an Adjunctive Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder." The Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics.. 2018 Nov 0; 367(2):267-281. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Callaghan CK, Rouine J, Dean RL, Knapp BI, Bidlack JM, Deaver DR, O'Mara SM. "Antidepressant-like effects of 3-carboxamido seco-nalmefene (3CS-nalmefene), a novel opioid receptor modulator, in a rat IFN-?-induced depression model." Brain, behavior, and immunity.. 2018 Jan 0; 67:152-162. Epub 2017 Aug 24.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Mu Opioid Antagonists
Book Title: Opiate Receptors and Antagonists: From Bench to Clinic
Author List: Bidlack, J.M., and Mathews, J.L.
Edited By: R. Dean, S.S. Negus, and E. Bilsky
Published By: Humana Press 2009 in Totowa, NJ

Chapter Title: Review of Carleton K. Erickson. The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment.
Book Title: Phi Kappa Phi Forum
Author List: Bidlack, JM
Published By: W.W. Norton & Company 2007 in New York