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.