Purdue Pharma Forges Agreement With Alivio Therapeutics to Advance a Non-Opioid Pain Therapy

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After becoming the poster company of the opioid crisis in America for its aggressive marketing efforts of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma continues to make strides to move away from opioids for pain treatment. Today, it forged a partnership with Boston-based Alivio Therapeutics to support that quest.

Connecticut-based Purdue struck a deal worth up to about $300 million with Alivio, an affiliate of PureTech Health, to use that company’s inflammation-targeting technology to develop a non-opioid pain treatment for patients with interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). The partnership centers on Alivio’s asset, ALV-107, which has demonstrated proof-of-concept in 10 different preclinical models of inflammation. One of the preclinical models was a validated pre-clinical model for the treatment of IC/BPS. ALV-107relieved pain at all study time points post-therapy, the companies said this morning.

Alivio’s inflammation-targeting technology is designed to enable therapeutics such as small molecules, biologics and nucleic acids to act exclusively at sites of inflammation based on the degree of inflammation in the tissue while sparing healthy tissue. This approach is being evaluated by Alivio internally across a variety of inflammatory diseases, including IC/BPS, pouchitis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IC/BPS is a chronic bladder condition that consists of discomfort or pain in the bladder or surrounding pelvic region and is often associated with frequent urination. It is estimated to affect up to 12 million people in the U.S. and is more common in women than men. Current treatments fail to control pain in many patients.

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Craig Landau, president and chief executive officer of Purdue Pharma, said the collaboration with Allivio is an important milestone in the company’s “continued pursuit of non-opioid treatments for pain.”

Over the past several weeks, Purdue has made several moves to beef up its non-opioid offerings, particularly as it faces numerous lawsuits over the way the abuse of OxyContin and the company’s aggressive marketing helped foment the opioid crisis. Earlier this month, Purdue and Ocular Therapeutix entered into a research collaboration to determine the compatibility of Purdue’s non-opioid new chemical entities with Ocular’s bioresorbable hydrogel-based technology in the development of non-opioid pain relief therapies. In the fall of 2018, Purdue struck a deal to acquire SpineThera, Inc, and its non-opioid asset SX600, a non-opioid epidural for lower back pain.

Those deals, combined with today’s agreement with Alivio, provides another opportunity for Purdue Pharma to diversify its drug portfolio, Landau said.

“We are impressed with Alivio’s innovative platform technology as we focus on addressing patient needs – especially in areas where there are few efficacious treatment options,” Landau said in a statement.

Eric Elenko, PureTech’s chief innovation officer and a co-founder of Alivio Therapeutics, said ALV-107’s non-opioid approach to treating interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome, could provide a novel treatment option for a disease where there is a tremendous unmet need.

“The Alivio platform technology is designed to address a range of inflammatory conditions, and we are rapidly progressing its potential application across pouchitis and inflammatory bowel disease as part of our internal R&D,” Elenko said.

Under terms of the deal, Alivio will receive up to $14.75 million in upfront and near-term license exercise payments. The company will also be eligible to receive royalties on product sales, as well as and more than $260 million in research and development milestones. Purdue also has an option to invest in Alivio’s next equity financing. In September 2018, ALV-107 program received a $3.3 million U.S. Department of Defense Technology/Therapeutic Development Award.

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