Mesoblast partners with Grünenthal on cell therapy

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Australian company Mesoblast has entered a new partnership with German company Grünenthal for the further development and commercialisation of MPC-06-ID.

MPC-06-ID is a phase 3 allogeneic cell therapy candidate for the treatment of chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease in patients who have exhausted conservative treatment options.

Mesoblast will receive up to US$150 million in upfront and milestone payments prior to product launch as well as further commercialisation milestone payments.

Mesoblast said this cumulative milestone and sales-related royalty payments could exceed US$1 billion depending on the final outcome of phase 3 studies and patient adoption. 

Investors welcomed the deal with the Mesoblast share price closing up over 20 per cent.

The current US-based phase 3 trial for MPC-06-ID is expected to report in 2020.

According to Mesoblast, in a previous phase 2 trial, a single intra-discal injection of MPC-06-ID using a unit dose of 6 million allogeneic mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) resulted in meaningful and durable improvements for patients in pain intensity and functionality for at least three years.

The company said it and Grünenthal have agreed on an overall development plan for MPC-06-ID to meet European regulatory requirements.

As part of the plan, the companies will collaborate on the study design for a confirmatory phase 3 trial in Europe.

“This is an exciting day for Grünenthal. Cell-based therapies offer a novel approach in pain management," said Grünenthal CEO Gabriel Baertschi. 

"They can potentially deliver meaningful lasting improvements to patients beyond symptomatic treatment by maintaining or even restoring physiological function.”

Mesoblast CEO Dr Silviu Itescu said, “We are very pleased to enter into this strategic partnership with Grünenthal, a world leader in innovative approaches to pain management.

"Together with Grünenthal we plan to bring an important new class of therapy for pain management to the many patients suffering with degenerative disc disease.”