New collaboration for UniQuest with Grünenthal

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German biopharmaceutical company Grünenthal has entered a new collaboration with UniQuest, The University of Queensland’s commercialisation company, to develop novel, non-opioid drug therapies derived from the group of alpha-conotoxins as analgesic and disease-modifying treatments of chronic neuropathic pain.

UniQuest said the project’s scientific foundation was laid at The University of Queensland (UQ) by Dr Richard Clark from the School of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine.

"The collaboration combines the expertise of UQ in target and peptide – specifically conotoxin – drug discovery and Grünenthal’s long-standing expertise in bringing innovative treatments to people living with pain worldwide," it said.

UniQuest said the collaboration will focus on identifying novel peptidic drug candidates with the goal of progressing them towards clinical development.

"Grünenthal will provide its expertise and technical capabilities in pain research and drug development, working closely with researchers from UQ and the University of Wollongong," it said, adding the German company will fund and coordinate the discovery activities and assume full responsibility for the development of drug candidates derived from the collaboration.

Neuropathic pain, also called nerve pain, is caused by damage, disease or dysfunction that affects the nervous system – nerves, brain and spinal cord. 

“UniQuest’s partnership with Grünenthal on the development of a potential first-in-class pain treatment is strong recognition of the university’s global reputation for research excellence,” said UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss.

“We are very pleased to be able to leverage our expertise in pain research in the collaboration with Grünenthal,” added Dr Moss.

According to Grünenthal CEO, Gabriel Baertschi, “As a global leader in pain management for nearly 50 years, we’re fully aware that patients are still hugely underserved in this area. We’re driven to transform this field through our own research, as well as by drawing on external innovation, collaborations and networks.”

“We are focussing all of our efforts on moving towards our vision of a world free of pain. Teaming up with academia allows us to leverage basic research to potentially create treatments that address patients’ unmet needs. Thus, we look forward to working with The University of Queensland on innovative, first-in-class clinical candidates,” added Mr Baertschi.