Confo Therapeutics and Eli Lilly and Company have entered a global licence agreement for the former’s clinical-stage peripheral pain candidate, CFTX-1554.

The new angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) inhibitor CFTX-1554 has been designed to address peripheral (neuropathic) pain and avoid centrally mediated side effects, such as sedation and addiction.

It is currently being evaluated in a Phase I first-in-human trial and represents a non-opioid approach for treating neuropathic pain, a devastating condition caused by damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

Under the deal, Lilly will be responsible for continuing the clinical development of CFTX-1554 beyond the Phase I trial.

Additionally, the deal entitles the company to consider a programme for the further development of the existing therapeutic antibody candidates of Confo that target the same receptor.

Lilly will make an upfront payment of $40m to Confo and up to $590m in potential milestone payments for each programme and tiered royalties.

Confo will also have a co-investment option to fund future development programmes following clinical proof-of-concept trials for additional royalties.

Confo Therapeutics CEO 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 continue to develop and expand our growing, innovative pipeline of GPCR-targeted assets, both small molecules and biologics.”

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