Israeli drug development company Painreform says it will conduct two Phase III trials of its pain reliever, based on delayed release over 72 hours. The new drug is designed for professional use in hospitals on patients recovering from surgery. Very few pain relievers reach the stage of Phase III trials, the final stage before marketing.
PainReform was founded in 2007 by Ofer Brothers' venture capital fund, now known as XT Holdings, which no longer invests in young companies; private equity fund Viola; and Medica Venture Partners. Although little known, the company has nevertheless acquired a reputation in the medical industry.
PainRreform CEO Prof. Eli Hazum, who is also a partner in Medica, says that the trials are being conducted after the first pain reliever product developed the company was unsuccessful. "We completely changed the formula of the product. The second version also didn't work, so we developed a third version."
Hazum added, "Up until not long ago, the existing drugs worked for only 4-6 hours. The pain usually persisted after this period of time, so they often gave a patient an opiate." Opiates are considered questionable drugs because they are addictive. Although addiction usually occurs following prolonged use, not one-time post-surgical use, doctors prefer to avoid opiates wherever possible. PainReform's drug is designed to provide continuous relief for 72 hours without exposing the patient to dangerous dosages of the active ingredient. After 72 hours, the pain is usually bearable and is treatable with over-the-counter pain relievers.
PainReform's main competitor is Pacira, which has developed a product named Exparel, also pain reliever within a wrapping of oil acids, but in a different configuration than that of PainReform. Hazum says that Pacira's product was approved in 2012 and the company was worth $4 billion at its peak, but its current market cap is $1.5 billion. "After it turned out that the drug's action is shorter than they thought, they still have $300 million in sales," he remarks.
Another company named Heron Therapeutics has developed a product. Hazum says that a Phase III trials showed that it affected healing of wounds. "For this reason, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) required a special trial from us to show that we don't damage healing of wounds, and we showed that," he asserts.
PainReform has raised $12 million to date and now wants to raise $15 million. The company previously considered an IPO on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) and is currently considering an IPO on Nasdaq, but Hazum himself would prefer waiting until after getting the trial results. "In my opinion, the value will rise significantly after getting the results - even interim results," he says.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 19, 2018
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