German-based Grünenthal Group has signed an agreement with Astellas Pharma Europe for the exclusive rights to the dermal patch Qutenza (capsaicin 8%) in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved Qutenza in 2009 for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain (PNP) excluding diabetic polyneuropathy (DPN).

After obtaining a label extension last year, DPN is now included and has broadened the Qutenza label to all peripheral neuropathic pain subgroups.

Grünenthal Group CEO Gabriel Baertschi said: “We have a clear strategy to further build our pain portfolio through in-house innovation and external acquisition.

“Adding Qutenza is a perfect strategic fit and will broaden the options available to physicians, especially in localised neuropathic pain; an area of remaining high unmet need for patients."

"Grünenthal has a long track record in pain and will be well placed to provide Qutenza to more patients who stand to benefit."

Under the agreement, Grünenthal will hold rights for Qutenza in all 28 European Union member states, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Lichtenstein, as well as other East European, Middle East and African countries.

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Astellas Pharma Europe operations president Yukio Matsui said: “This agreement is a part of our work toward higher quality and efficiency of operations through optimisation of resources and will ultimately provide hope for more patients around the world.

“Grünenthal has a long track record in pain and will be well placed to provide Qutenza to more patients who stand to benefit.”

NeurogesX developed the high-dose capsaicin (8%) containing Qutenza and licensed it to Astellas Pharma Europe in 2009.

The capsaicin 8% patch is currently approved for use in 27 countries across Europe and is applied to the area of pain to reduce the neuropathic pain intensity.