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Eli Lilly signs agreement worth up to $600m for Confo Therapeutics' non-opioid pain candidate

Neuropathic pain results from conditions including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, shingles or cancer

Eli Lilly

Eli Lilly and company (Lilly) has signed a licensing agreement with Confo Therapeutics (Confo) for the Belgium biotech’s neuropathic pain candidate CFTX-1554, as well as back-up compounds.

Currently in phase 1 clinical development, CFTX-1554 represents a non-opioid approach to treating neuropathic pain, a condition caused by damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

Neuropathic pain can be a symptom or complication of several diseases and conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, shingles or cancer.

The condition can be very severe, and existing treatments, which are often in the form of opioids, can lead to serious side effects including addiction.

Confo’s candidate is an inhibitor of the angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R), a clinically precedented target for the treatment of neuropathic pain.

While previous compounds targeting AT2R have failed to reach market approval, the company maintains that CFTX-1554 is distinct in that it interacts more efficiently with the AT2R binding site, resulting in improved drug-like properties.

Under the terms of the agreement, Confo will receive a $40m upfront payment from Lilly, and up to $590m in potential milestone payments per programme, as well as tiered royalties.

In exchange, Lilly will gain rights to continue the development of CFTX-1554 beyond phase 1, with the deal also considering a programme to further develop Confo’s existing therapeutic antibody candidates targeting the same receptor.

Confo has retained a co-investment option, which would allow the company to participate in the funding of future development programmes after clinical proof-of-concept for additional royalties.

Commenting on the deal, Confo’s chief executive officer, Cedric Ververken, said: “We are pleased that Lilly, an expert in chronic pain with a wealth of experience in bringing novel therapies to patients, has recognised Confo’s ability to develop best-in-class GPCR drug candidates.

"CFTX-1554’s progression through the clinic will benefit from Lilly’s experience and global organisation, while we will continue to develop and expand our growing, innovative pipeline of GPCR-targeted assets, both small molecules and biologics.”

Article by
Emily Kimber

3rd March 2023

From: Research, Sales



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