DARA BioSciences (Nasdaq: DARA) has strengthened its intellectual position by securing five new patents for its drug pipeline.

DARA said that the five new patents were granted in the United States, Asia and Israel. The Raleigh-based company has two drug candidates in clinical trials.

KRN5500 is in development as a treatment for neuropathic pain caused by chemotherapy. The Food and Drug Administration in August granted fast track status for the compound. It is currently being studied in phase 2 clinical trials with the National Cancer Institute, which is funding the clinical studies.

Another compound, DB959, is in early stage studies as type 2 diabetes treatment. DARA earlier this month reported positive phase 1b clinical trial results for the compound, setting the stage for the drug candidate to advance into phase 2 clinical trials.

DARA cites estimates of a $4 billion worldwide neuropathic pain market that is projected to grow to $8 billion by 2015. The market for non-insulin type 2 diabetes drugs was $12.2 billion in 2009 and is projected to reach $18.8 billion by 2019.

DARA has been moving to secure global patent protection for its drug pipeline as its candidates advance in clinical development. The company in May announced it was awarded nine patents worldwide.

So far this year, DARA has been awarded 20 U.S. and international patents to protect its drug portfolio.

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