Novartis announced today that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Spinifex Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a US and Australian-based, privately held development stage company, focused on developing a peripheral approach to treat neuropathic pain such as EMA401, a novel angiotensin II Type 2 receptor (AT2R) antagonist.
It is estimated that up to 7 to 8% of the adult population suffer from chronic pain with neuropathic characteristics. Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition with high unmet medical need as approximately 40% of patients do not respond to current first-line treatment and a further 25% do not respond to second-line treatment options. Leveraging peripheral targets, such as an AT2R antagonist, is an emerging and promising approach to neuropathic pain treatment because peripheral targets act outside the blood-brain barrier and therefore are expected to be devoid of common side effects in the central nervous system, such as dizziness or confusion.
"Neuropathic pain is a chronic and debilitating condition with high unmet need. EMA401 could provide a novel, differentiated treatment approach to provide relief for patients and healthcare providers worldwide," said David Epstein, Head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Positive results from Spinifex's Phase II clinical trial of EMA401 in post-herpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that develops in some people following herpes zoster (shingles), have been published showing its efficacy. No central nervous system side effects or any serious adverse events have been observed in the study.