Lilly lands non-opioid pain asset

Lilly notes a licensing agreement for Centrexion Therapeutics’ non-opioid pain asset

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INDIANAPOLIS—Eli Lilly and Company just announced a licensing agreement to acquire the exclusive worldwide rights for CNTX-0290 from Centrexion Therapeutics Corporation. CNTX-0290 is an investigational small molecule somatostatin receptor type 4 (SSTR4) agonist for chronic pain associated with inflammatory, neuropathic and mixed pain conditions, and is currently being studied in Phase 1 clinical testing as a potential non-opioid treatment for chronic pain conditions.
According to a press release from Centrexion, “CNTX-0290 works by activating the SSTR4 receptor, which functions as a ‘master control’ switch to turn down the activity of several other pain receptors, such as specific calcium channels, potassium channels and TRPV1 and TRPA1 channels, thereby reducing the transmission of pain signals. To date, CNTX0290 has shown activity in every chronic pain model it has been tested in and shows promise for treating a wide variety of chronic pain conditions.”
“This collaboration marks an important step for Centrexion in the progress of its pipeline and demonstrates our ability to identify promising early stage assets working at new targets for chronic pain and efficiently take them through to development,” said Jeffrey B. Kindler, chief executive officer of Centrexion. “Lilly’s robust pain management portfolio and successful track record developing and commercializing novel therapies make them an ideal company to advance CNTX-0290. Importantly, this agreement aims to efficiently deliver an innovative new treatment to patients that can address the significant unmet medical need of chronic pain.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will pay Centrexion an upfront payment of $47.5 million. Centrexion is eligible for up to $575 million in potential development and regulatory milestones. If CNTX-0290 is successfully commercialized, Centrexion would be eligible for up to $375 million in potential sales milestones, and tiered royalties ranging from the high-single to low-double digits. Lilly and Centrexion may also elect at a later date to co-promote CNTX-0290 in the U.S.
“Given the growing problem of chronic pain that we face, it is critically important that we have new non-opioid treatment options with potential to treat different kinds of pain, including difficult to treat pain,” Randall M. Stevens, M.D., chief medical officer of Centrexion Therapeutics, noted in a press release. “Because CNTX-0290 has a novel mechanism of action that targets a ‘master control’ switch for pain, it has the potential to significantly benefit a broad population of people suffering from chronic pain, including mixed pain conditions such as back pain. It is critical that we continue to advance new pain treatments like CNTX-0290 that have the potential to relieve pain while avoiding the significant challenges and side effects of currently available therapies.”
This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, and will be reflected in Lilly’s reported results and financial guidance according to generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). There will be no change to Lilly’s 2019 non-GAAP earnings per share guidance as a result of this transaction.
“Lilly is committed to developing new medicines for people struggling with chronic pain,” added Mark Mintun, M.D., vice president of pain and neurodegeneration research at Lilly. “We are pleased to license this early-phase molecule from Centrexion, and look forward to developing it further as a potential non-opioid treatment option for multiple pain conditions.”

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