Charging forward


NOCION is a biopharmaceutical company that is addressing vexing medical problems head on. We are developing “nocions”—a new kind of therapy that selectively affects actively firing nociceptors—to provide targeted, robust and sustained relief for the treatment of serious conditions including cough, itch, pain and inflammation.

Nocions silence inflamed nociceptors —nerves that cause the sensation of pain—while leaving touch and movement neurons unaffected


Create a nocion by ionizing and optimizing a proven sodium channel blocker


Nocions enter inflamed nociceptors through large-pore channels


Nocions get trapped inside the inflamed nociceptors, inhibiting sodium channels and providing long-acting relief

About Our Platform

Anchored in the well-understood physiology of nociceptors, our novel platform develops small molecules called nocions, which preferentially target activated sensory neurons that are responding to external insult. These inflamed sensory neurons are a source of cough, itch, pain and inflammation. More specifically, nocions are designed to only enter activated nociceptors via large-pore channels on these neurons that open in response to insult.

Once inside, nocions block all sodium channels. And because nocions are charged, they do not enter non-nociceptors or redistribute from nociceptors to local cells by passive diffusion. Thus, nocions are essentially trapped inside target cells to provide a targeted, robust and sustained effect that cannot be achieved with traditional small molecule anesthetics.

Our approach is different

Other investigatory approaches to treating neurogenic inflammation include trying to develop molecules that either selectively block Nav 1.7 or antagonize large-pore channels. Both these approaches have been met with limited success due to undesired side effects and/or insufficient efficacy. In contrast, nocions only target activated sensory neurons using large-pore channels as doorways in and block all sodium channels in these cells.

Potential benefits are significant

Nocions offer a number of potential benefits vs standard sodium channel blockers, including:

  • Targeted treatment for inflamed nociceptors
  • Greater potency
  • Longer half-life
  • Lower risk of off-target activity
  • Reduced risk of undesired side effects frequently associated with traditional local anesthetics
  • Topical administration with low systemic exposure
  • Non-CNS, non-opiate treatment of pain

Proof-of-concept demonstrated in vitro and in vivo


A lead compound targeting cough,
with an eye towards a broad range of additional indications

Our focused platform may be applied to a broad range of applications. We’re actively finalizing leads to create a suite of product candidates intended to treat a wide variety of conditions.

Nocion is exploring multiple indications


  • Chronic idiopathic cough
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cough
  • Post-infection cough
  • Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome


  • Gynecological pain
    • Vulvodynia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Rectal pain
    • Levator ani syndrome
    • Proctalgia fugax


  • Acute post-op pain
  • Burns
  • Complex regional pain syndrome
  • Dental pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Peripheral neuropathy


  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Erythromelalgia
  • Hand eczema
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Pruritus
    • Brachioradial pruritus
    • Chronic idiopathic pruritus
    • Genital/anal pruritus
    • Notalgia paresthetica
    • Scalp pruritus
  • Trigeminal trophic syndrome


  • Abdominal wall pain
  • Esophagitis
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Irritable bowel disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Oral mucositis
  • Stomach pain
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome


  • Allergic conjunctivitis 
  • Dry eye syndrome (chronic ocular pain)
  • Post-surgical ocular pain


Chronic cough is a significant unmet medical need with no proven standard of care. Nocions may provide benefit to patients with chronic idiopathic cough, post-infectious cough, IPF-cough, asthma-COPD overlap syndrome and additional inflammatory respiratory conditions.

Leadership team

Richard P. Batycky, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

A natural-born leader with an affinity for start-ups

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Richard P. Batycky, Ph.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Rick has been CEO at Nocion since August 2018. He has over two decades of experience in drug development across an array of platforms and disease states, and has been with several start-ups from founding through acquisition. Most recently, he was the Chief Scientific Officer and a founder of Civitas Therapeutics. Civitas was acquired by Acorda, whereupon he became their Chief Technology Officer and Civitas’ lead asset—a novel dry powder inhalation therapy to treat motor issues in Parkinson’s patients—has been approved by the FDA as InbrijaTM.

Rick was previously the Chief Scientific Officer and Sr. Vice President of Research & Development at Pulmatrix. He was previously the Vice President of Research and Development at Alkermes, overseeing many facets of product development across pulmonary, injectable and oral platforms. Rick was an original member of Advanced Inhalation Research (AIR®), where he oversaw product development.

Rick held several academic posts prior to joining AIR. He received his B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Calgary and his S.M. and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


James L. Ellis, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

A seasoned drug hunter inspired by science’s endless possibilities

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James L. Ellis, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Jim has been CSO at Nocion since July 2018. He has over 20 years leadership experience in drug discovery in multiple therapeutic areas, working in organizations from biotech startups to large pharma. Most recently, Jim lead GSK’s Innovation Hub in Cambridge after serving as Vice President and Head of GSK’s Sirtuin Discovery Performance Unit.

Prior to GSK, Jim was Vice President of Research for Surface Logix and the Executive Project Director and Chief Biology Advisor for NitroMed. Previously, Jim was the Group Director, Allergy & Respiratory Disease and Senior Director of Pharmacology at UCB Pharma where he was responsible for UCB’s global allergy and respiratory franchise research pipeline.

Prior to joining industry, Jim was an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, where he also did his post-doctoral research. Jim received his B.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and his Ph.D. in Neurobiology from University College London.


Bridget M. Cole, Ph.D.

Vice President of Drug Discovery

Bridget finds solutions—and has the track record to prove it

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Bridget M. Cole, Ph.D.

Vice President of Drug Discovery

Bridget joined Nocion in August 2018 as Vice President of Drug Discovery, bringing over 20 years of experience advancing compounds from high-throughput screening through phase 2 clinical trials. Most recently, she was the Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry at Axial Biotherapeutics, where she developed microbiome-inspired therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.

Prior to Axial, Bridget held the position of Vice President at Flatley Discovery Lab, where she led discovery programs intended to develop and advance compounds for the treatment of cystic fibrosis, including phase 2 clinical candidates, FDL169 and FDL176. Before joining Flatley, she held positions as Vice President at Surface Logix, Associate Director of Chemistry at the Pfizer Research Technology Center and Project Leader in the Pfizer Veterinary Medicine Division.

Bridget holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Boston University and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Brandeis University.




Professor in Neurology & Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School


Professor of Neurobiology,
Harvard Medical School


Chief of Pulmonology & Critical Care
Brigham & Women’s Hospital