A revolution

The burden of severe pain in modern society is extremely heavy.  Existing treatments provide limited relief to a small percentage of patients. While other treatments may be more efficacious, in particular those acting on morphine receptors, they plight patients with significant side effects due to the ubiquitous distribution of morphine receptors.

The revolutionizing concept developed by Pharmaleads consists in protecting from degradation our own body’s morphine-like molecules, enkephalins, through the use of highly specific inhibitors.  In normal conditions, the enkephalins produced by our body mitigate moderate pain signals from our daily lives, making life tolerable.  They are however rapidly degraded by enkephalinases.  Though enkephalins are secreted in great quantity following intensely painful stimuli, they are still degraded just as rapidly.  Thanks to the highly effective inhibition of enkephalinases produced by Pharmaleads’s molecules, the Dual ENKephalinase Inhibitors (DENKIs), enkephalins are protected from degradation where they are secreted, meaning where pain is localized.  Consequently, the DENKIs act as local and physiological painkillers, regardless of their administration mode.  Their “local” actions also relieves them of the many side effects of morphine like drugs.

DENKIs, administered either orally or intravenously have shown a synergistic effect with morphine as well as with several known painkillers on the market.  Administration of our molecules with other painkillers should therefore increase efficacy whilst reducing their doses and side effects.

The efficacy, tolerability and safety of our lead DENKI, PL37 in reducing neuropathic pain of diabetic origin, an ill addressed condition, is currently being tested in a proof of concept international Phase 2a trial.  Another compound of the family is also in early clinical development.

Key Dates


  • Pharmaleads is founded by two renowned scientists, Professor Bernard Roques and Professor Marie-Claude Fournié-Zaluski

2004 – 2008

  • 2004 : Two additional founding managers with a strong international experience, Thierry Bourbié and Jean-Pierre Rogala, join the Company
  • 2005-2008 : 1st round of financing: €4 million over 4 years
  • 2005 : Signature of our first non-exclusive license for the quantification of Botulinum toxin A in the medical and cosmetic domain
  • 2006 : The network of Surveillance Laboratories over French territory and all the French Water Companies are equipped with our EzyBot® field case for the field detection of Botulinum toxins A & B
  • 2006 : Opening of our new R&D laboratories within the Paris Biopark in Paris
  • 2008 : Signature of an exclusive worldwide license for our lead compound PL37 with the Swiss Company Debiopharm

2009 – 2012

  • 2009 : Launch of the first in man trial for PL37: two Phase 1 studies with a total 168 subjects out of which 136 were exposed to PL37
  • 2011 : Pharmaleads regains full rights to the PL37development program, following a shift in the Debiopharm strategy, to focus on fast-track developments of molecules in oncology.
  • 2012 : Pharmaleads concentrates its developments on its painkiller compounds called DENKIs

2013 – 2015

  • 2013 : License to French-Chinese investors for DENKIs in Greater China through a French-Chinese JV in China
  • 2014 : Successful completion of our 2nd round of financing: €5.3 m with historic and new investors
  • 2014 : Launch of the first Phase 2 clinical trial ever with our lead DENKI PL37 in diabetic neuropathic pain.

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Pharmaleads SA
11, rue Watt
75013 Paris

Tel: +33 (0)1 44 06 70 00
Fax: +33 (0)1 44 06 60 99

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