Neuropathic pain refers to a group of chronic painful conditions where the underlying cause is due to nerve dysfunction triggered by a variety of factors including viruses, diabetes, trauma and chemotherapy. In 2010, neuropathic pain was estimated to affect over 6 million patients worldwide.
The global market for neuropathic pain treatments via oral route is expected to continue to increase and is projected to reach US $6 Bn by 2016 (GBI Research, July 2013 and Global Data Pharma Point, April 2014). Today, neuropathic pain affects 7–8% of the population and this percentage is expected to grow, driven by the increased life expectancy, increasing incidence of diabetes and cancer, combined with better survival rates, often leaving patients with severe neuropathies.
The pharmacopoeia available for the treatment of neuropathic pain, remains a major clinical challenge.
The most commonly prescribed drug classes for neuropathic pain, antidepressants (tricyclic, duloxetine), anticonvulsants (gabapentin, pregabalin), and opioids have very limited efficacy and dose-limiting adverse effects.
The recently published (Lancet Neurology 02-2015) meta-analysis of studies on treatment of neuropathic pain demonstrates that 6 patients out of 7 will not achieve a clinically significant improvement on the two main drugs (Cymbalta® and Lyrica®) licensed for diabetic neuropathy.
Based on its unprecedented mechanism of action, and leveraged by a striking synergy with gabapentin and Lyrica® as well as an additive effect with Cymbalta®, PL37 p.o., now in Phase 2 for neuropathic pain from diabetic origin, is expected to be a breakthrough in the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain, regardless of its origin.