Diagram of neosaxitoxin molecule

Diagram of neosaxitoxin molecule

Grünenthal Group, an international, family-owned pharmaceutical company, Proteus S.A. and Boston Children’s Hospital have announced a collaboration around developing neosaxitoxin, a novel anesthetic for local anesthesia and post-operative pain management. The deal includes up to $85 million US in upfront and development milestones plus undisclosed sales milestones and royalties.

Neosaxitoxin was initially developed in a collaborative effort between Proteus S.A. and Boston Children’s Hospital eight years ago. A Chilean based company, Proteus was founded in 2007 with local investors, mainly to focus on the biotechnological production of neosaxitoxin and to explore the full potential of this active principle ingredient obtained from microalgae. The production process of the company is environmentally friendly and carbon-neutral.

Neosaxitoxin is a site-1 specific sodium channel blocker that acts synergistically with local anesthetics to provide surgical anesthesia by peripheral nerve blocks or local infiltration, and markedly increases the duration of post-operative analgesia. Research into neosaxitoxin was awarded the Best Clinical Science abstract award at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting.

“We are thrilled to be entering this collaboration with Proteus and Boston Children’s Hospital,” said Dr. Klaus-Dieter Langner, Chief Scientific Officer of Grünenthal. “We believe that this project could transform an area that has lacked innovation for decades”

With the collaboration between Grünenthal, Proteus S.A. and Boston Children’s Hospital, Grünenthal implements the concept of its Innovative Medicines Unit (IMU). The IMU is tasked with building Grünenthal’s early clinical development portfolio by first in-licensing projects from external sources and then leading them through to successful clinical proof of concept.

“With the IMU we want to be a preferred partner with academic researchers and biotech organizations,” said Simon Read, Head of IMU. “In this collaboration we have both; a world leading academic institution in Boston Children’s Hospital and a Chilean Biotech Company in Proteus. We trust that these global collaborations are a key way to bring innovation into new areas. It is a true example of networked R&D.”