Lilly joins the push for non-opioid painkillers

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/dragana991)
(Image: Getty/dragana991)

Related tags Eli lilly Eli lilly and company Opioid Opioid epidemic Pain

Eli Lilly acquires exclusive worldwide rights for non-opioid treatment for chronic pain from Centrexion through a licensing agreement.

Centrexion, a late clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in non-addictive therapies for pain, licensed its non-opioid treatment for chronic pain, CNTX-0290, to Eli Lilly.

The treatment is a small molecule somatostatin receptor type 4 agonist, which Eli Lilly acquired under a potential $997.5m (€891m) agreement.

Per the license, Lilly will pay Centrexion $47.5m upfront, and the latter will be eligible for up to $575m in development and regulatory milestones, and $375m in potential sales milestones and royalties. Lilly and Centrexion may also work together to co-promote CNTX-0290 in the US – should the development of the drug candidate prove successful.

The drug is currently in Phase I clinical trials as a non-opioid treatment for chronic pain conditions.

A push for non-opioids

As public health officials cite that opioid usage in the US is at an epidemic level, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse​ stated that roughly 21% to 29% of individuals prescribed opioids misuse them, there has been a push for the development of non-opioid options for the treatment of pain.

Purdue Pharma recently entered a partnership with Alivio ​to develop a non-opioid painkiller in January 2019. The OxyContin (oxycodone HCI) producer paid Alivio Therapeutics $14.75m upfront to advance the company’s lead drug candidate, ALV-107.

Aside from the push for non-opioid painkillers, the US Department of Defense (DOD) granted Phoenix PharmaLabs $2.7m to develop a non-addictive opioid. The DOD granted the pharmaceutical company the financing to develop its candidate PPL-103 that stimulates three opioid receptors without creating the euphoric feeling associated with opioids.

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