Purdue pivots towards non-opioid painkillers in $275m deal

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/FotoDuets)
(Image: Getty/FotoDuets)

Related tags Purdue Pharma Alivio Therapeutics Opioid Opioid epidemic

Purdue announced that it has entered into a partnership deal with Alivio to develop a non-opioid painkiller for the treatment of cystitis and bladder pain syndrome.

Purdue Pharma will pay Alivio Therapeutics $14.75m (€12.91m) upfront to advance its lead drug candidate, ALV-107, through clinical trials. In addition, the deal includes a further $260m depending on research and development milestones.

The drug candidate acts by allowing small molecules, biologics, and nucleic acids to act directly at the site of inflammation in the tissue, potentially offering an alternative to opioid-based painkillers.

In preclinical models, ALV-107 showed statistically significant pain relief at every study point post-therapy and proved superior to comparator treatment lidocaine that provided pain relief two hours after treatment.

“This collaboration with Alivio is an important milestone in our continued pursuit of non-opioid treatments for pain and represents yet another step to further diversify our portfolio​,” said Craig Landau, CEO of Purdue Pharma, in a statement.

Included in the deal is the potential for Purdue to opt-in to collaborate on additional compounds in Alivio’s pipeline, and the option to invest in Alivio’s next equity financing.

Moving away from opioids

Purdue released OxyContin (oxycodone HCI) onto the pain relief market in 1996, but the company has become embroiled in lengthy litigation cases over its marketing of the drug. In 2007​, the firm issued a guilty plea to federal court and agreed to pay $600m in fines over its sales practices.

The family behind the company has also been drawn into an on-going case brought by the state of Massachusetts, regarding violation of state law​.

The opioid crisis wracking North America has led to a push for the development of opioid painkillers that are non-addictive, with the US Department of Defense providing funding​ for research into the area.

The Alivio deal marks the second deal in recent months that Purdue has pursued down this pathway. In October 2018​, Purdue acquired SpineThera and its non-opioid candidate for the treatment of pain.

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