Evotec’s neuropathic pain project in clinical development

Evotec has announced that a compound in its alliance with Boehringer Ingelheim has advanced into clinical trials. With the initiation of phase I studies, Evotec will receive a milestone payment of €2 million.

The compound, which was discovered and optimized within the alliance, is being developed as a novel treatment for neuropathic pain, a disease caused by damage or dysfunction of the nervous system and affecting up to 8% of the world’s population.

The alliance has involved working on multiple high-priority targets across key therapeutic areas and has recently been expanded for four further years to include oncology. So far, it has resulted in eight milestone payments from multiple programmes.

Dr Werner Lanthaler, CEO of Evotec, said: ‘This clearly validates our strategy of creating value for our partners and further emphasizes our expertise in providing most efficient integrated drug discovery solutions for our collaborators. We are looking forward to advancing other exciting projects towards the clinic as part of this innovative alliance.’

Neuropathic pain is a type of pain that is caused by damage to or dysfunction of the nervous system. There is often no ‘injury’ or tissue damage that triggers the pain; however, the function of the nerve is affected in a way that it sends pain messages to the brain.

Neuropathic pain is often described as burning, stabbing, shooting, aching or like an electric shock. According to the Pain journal (Bouhassira et al., 2008), as much as 7% to 8% of the world’s population is affected. Furthermore, it was noted in the same journal (Dworkin et al., 2007) that neuropathic pain can be very difficult to treat, with only 40%–60% of patients achieving partial relief.

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