In 2018 a painkiller named Prialt was purchased for $80 Million. The origins for the potent non-opioid medication? Neurotoxins produced by a cone snail.

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The origins for the compound can be traced to a 1950s discovery by Alan J. Kohn, a marine biologist.

Decades later, the fish killing cone snail’s venom would be isolated to create Ziconotide, also known as Prialt.

In retrospect, it clearly was not a drug development program that led to the discovery of Ziconotide, but rather, resulted from an effort to understand how the two fish-hunting cone snail species were able to capture their fish prey (and why one of these species was also capable of killing people).

Pain Therapeutics from Cone Snail Venoms: From Ziconotide to Novel Non-Opioid Pathways

Current studies examine other cone snail compounds for applications in cancer and diabetes treatments.