Centrexion Therapeutics, a company focused on advancing chronic pain treatment with new non-opioid and non-surgical therapies, today announced the expansion of its proprietary pipeline with the acquisition of three new analgesic candidates from Boehringer Ingelheim. The company’s proprietary pipeline consists of the first and only injectable analgesic capsaicin, known as trans-capsaicin, which is currently being evaluated in clinical trials for the treatment of pain associated with chronic conditions.
Centrexion Therapeutics was founded in November 2013 and is led by former Celgene Chairman and CEO, Sol Barer, Ph.D., who chairs the company’s Board of Directors, and Jeffrey Kindler, former Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, who serves as the company’s CEO. The company is well financed having raised $58 million to-date.
“Recognizing the tremendous need for safe, non-habit-forming and effective treatments for chronic pain, we assembled a team of industry and pain treatment leaders to form Centrexion Therapeutics,” said Mr. Kindler. “The acquisition of three of Boehringer Ingelheim’s most promising pain treatment candidates strengthens our existing proprietary pipeline of therapies based on our patented and exclusive injectable trans-capsaicin. With a diversified and rapidly advancing pipeline and an experienced management team, Centrexion is poised to redefine the pain treatment market and transform the lives of people living with chronic pain.”
Pain Therapeutics Acquisition
Centrexion Therapeutics acquired three new analgesic therapies from Boehringer Ingelheim’s research and development portfolio to deepen its efforts to bring non-opioid treatment options to patients:
- CNTX-6970 is a novel, potent and selective cytokine CCR2 antagonist with a unique analgesic profile. This small-molecule agent has shown promising efficacy in multiple animal models of inflammatory pain and has recently demonstrated safety and binding to its target in a single ascending dose Phase 1 clinical study. Centrexion Therapeutics will take over finalization of the Phase 1 program.
- CNTX-6016 is the first of a new generation of potent and “super-selective” cannabinoid CB2 agonists. It is 20,000 times more selective for the CB2 receptor than for the CB1 receptor and thereby able to achieve pain relief without the euphoric and other side effects seen with less selective agonists. Efficacy has been shown in multiple neuropathic pain models with no central nervous system (CNS) side effects. CNTX-6016 is IND-ready.
- CNTX-0290, a first-in-class, potent and selective somatostatin SSTR4 agonist, is a completely novel pain target. It has demonstrated very broad efficacy in multiple animal models of chronic pain and has the potential to treat inflammatory, nociceptive, neuropathic and mixed chronic pain states. CNTX-0290 is IND-ready.
“Boehringer Ingelheim is shifting its strategic focus to key CNS symptom domains with high medical need across a range of neuropsychiatric diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and depression. As such, we are delighted to see that promising therapies from our pain portfolio are now in the capable hands of the Centrexion Therapeutics team of experienced drug developers who are first and foremost committed to improving the lives of patients coping with chronic pain, while creating value for both companies and their shareholders,” said Klaus Mendla, Global Head of Business Development and Licensing CNS at Boehringer Ingelheim. The financial terms of the Boehringer Ingelheim acquisition were not disclosed.
These programs expand the company’s current pipeline, led by CNTX-4975, a highly potent, ultrapure, synthetic form of capsaicin (a derivative of the chili plant), called trans-capsaicin, which is the first and only patented capsaicin designed to be administered via injection directly into the site of pain. CNTX-4975 was developed in a research lab at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine by Centrexion Therapeutics Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer, James Campbell, M.D., and is currently being evaluated for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (OA) pain in humans and pet dogs and for Morton’s neuroma pain, a rare, painful nerve disorder in the foot. CNTX-4975 works by targeting the capsaicin receptor (also known as TRPV1) to inactivate the nerve fibers transmitting pain signals to the brain – a therapeutic effect that can last for months until the nerve fiber regenerates. Through its targeted delivery process and method of action, CNTX-4975 manages pain without disrupting nerve functions in the surrounding regions.
A Unique, Translational Approach to Pain Drug Development
Centrexion Therapeutics advances clinical development through a unique, dual-pronged strategy:
- Centrexion Therapeutics studies its therapies in companion animals with the same naturally-occurring (vs. artificially–induced) pain-causing disease conditions that are common to both humans and animals. By validating the safety and therapeutic effect of its treatments in both animals and humans, the company is able to work on parallel tracks to develop human and veterinary treatments.
- By incorporating the power of big data analytics through a strategic collaboration with BioXcel, a pioneer in cloud-based pharma big data analytics solutions for healthcare, Centrexion Therapeutics is able to rapidly mine and link vast multidisciplinary streams of data to create well-founded scientific and commercial rationales to inform and de-risk indication selection and clinical development of its pipeline.
Founders and Management Team
In addition to Mr. Kindler, the Centrexion Therapeutics management team consists of:
- Jim Campbell, M.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer
- Former Chief Executive Officer at Arcion Therapeutics
- Professor Emeritus of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University, and former President of the American Pain Society
- Randall Stevens, M.D., Chief Medical Officer
- Former Corporate Vice President, Head of Inflammation and Immunology Clinical Development for Celgene Corporation
- Board certified internist and rheumatologist with more than 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical medicine
- Peter Hanson, DVM, Ph.D., Chief Veterinary Officer
- Former Head of Research and Development and Medical Affairs for Abbott Animal Health
- Board certified veterinary surgeon with 20 years of experience in pharmaceutical medicine
- Kerrie Brady, BPharm, MS, MBA, Co-founder, Chief Business Officer
- Former Chief Operations Officer at Arcion Therapeutics
- Experienced, international pharmaceutical executive with over 30 years of experience within big pharma and biotech companies covering regulatory, commercial, business development and operations
- Gregg Beloff, J.D., MBA, Chief Financial Officer
- Founder and Managing Director with Danforth Advisors, with 20 years of experience in the life science and technology industries ranging from venture-backed start-ups to publicly traded companies
“With a seasoned executive like Jeff at the helm leading a world-class management team with deep expertise in pain treatment and a proven industry track record, Centrexion Therapeutics promises to be a formidable player in the chronic pain therapeutics arena,” added Dr. Barer.
About the Burden of Chronic Pain
Chronic pain affects 100 million people in the United States and 270 million people worldwide, and currently available treatments often lack adequate efficacy and are associated with numerous side effects. The total annual incremental cost of health care due to pain ranges from $560 billion to $635 billion in the U.S., which combines the medical costs of pain care and the economic costs related to disability days, lost wages and productivity. Despite the availability of a variety of pain treatment options ranging from opioids and NSAIDs, to hyaluronic acid and surgery, millions of people continue to live with chronic, debilitating pain.
About Centrexion Therapeutics
Centrexion Therapeutics, Inc., is focused on developing and commercializing new, non-opioid and non-surgical treatments for moderate to severe chronic pain. Centrexion Therapeutics recognizes the needs of over a quarter of a billion patients living with chronic pain worldwide, and aims to develop new, safer and more effective therapies that overcome the limitations and challenges associated with current pain treatments. Founded by world-renowned leaders in drug development and well-funded by key investors, Centrexion Therapeutics is building a pain treatment powerhouse to address the substantial and growing global problem of chronic pain.
For more information about Centrexion, visit http://www.centrexion.com.