A Bozeman biotech company announced Tuesday it received a $1 million federal grant to continue its work developing a pain medication alternative to opioids.

The company, SiteOne Therapeutics, is currently developing a drug that effectively blocks pain signals to the brain. SiteOne’s founders have said the treatment would be a welcome alternative to opioid painkillers such as oxycodone and fentanyl, which have adverse side effects including dependency and addiction.

The grant money was awarded through an R&D arm of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“The validation and confidence of officials of the DOD is exceptionally welcome,” said SiteOne Co-Founder and Vice President of Research John Mulcahy.

“There is a critical need for non-opioid therapeutics that treat acute and chronic pain effectively, allowing for less reliance on opioids, and reducing the side effects and addiction potential associated with them,” Mulcahy said.

From 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids, according to the CDC, including more than 600 in Montana.

In January, SiteOne announced it had raised $15 million in venture funding, as well as secured a partnership with global biotech giant Amgen.

SiteOne has also received more than $3 million in equity and grant funding through the National Institutes of Health.

The company was founded in 2012.

Kendall can be reached at 406-582-2651 or lkendall@dailychronicle.com.

He is on Twitter at @lewdak

Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Subscribers get full, survey-free access to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle's award-winning coverage both on our website and in our e-edition, a digital replica of the print edition.