Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) has agreed to buy the exclusive worldwide licensing rights to the non-opoid investigational pain drug CNTX-0290 from Centrexion Therapeutics in a deal worth up to $997.5m (£789.24m).
CNTX-0290 is a small molecule somatostatin receptor type 4 (SSTR4) agonist, which is being evaluated for the treatment of chronic pain conditions in a phase 1 clinical trial.
Lilly pain and neurodegeneration research vice president Mark Mintun said: “Lilly is committed to developing new medicines for people struggling with chronic pain.
“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.”
As per the agreement terms, the Massachusetts-based Centrexion will be paid $47.5m (£37.58m) upfront by Lilly. The company will also be eligible to receive payments pertaining to potential development and regulatory milestones, amounting to up to $575m (£454.95m).
Furthermore, if CNTX-0290 is successfully commercialized, Centrexion will get up to $375m (£296.71m) of payment related to potential sales milestones and tiered royalties from the US pharma giant.
The deal will be subject to customary closing conditions.
Centrexion CEO Jeffrey Kindler said: “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.
“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.”
Centrexion, which is engaged in developing non-opioid, non-addictive therapeutics for chronic pain, is currently holding a phase 3 trial for CNTX-4975 for the treatment of moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis pain. The company, which completed patient enrolment for the late-stage trial called VICTORY-1 in December 2018, expects to report results in the first quarter of 2020.
Said to be ultra-pure, synthetic form of trans-capsaicin, CNTX-4975 is directly injected into the joint where the pain stimulus originates.