Kindler’s Centrexion raises $67M to fund phase 3 pain trial

Centrexion Therapeutics has raised $67 million. The Jeffrey Kindler-helmed biotech will use the cash to move nonopioid pain drug CNTX-4975 into a phase 3 trial in patients with knee osteoarthritis in the coming months.

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) led the series D with assists from from new and existing investors including Quan Capital ArrowMark Partners and funds advised by Clough Capital Partners.

The syndicate came together to equip Centrexion to build on encouraging midphase data it posted last year. In the phase 2b, Centrexion’s experimental synthetic form of trans-capsaicin beat placebo against measures to assess its effect on the pain suffered by people with knee osteoarthritis. A single injection of the drug improved pain with walking for 24 weeks.

When Centrexion posted the 24-week data in June it hoped to get CNTX-4975 into phase 3 by the end of the year. That goal came and went. But with the NEA-led syndicate taking care of the financial requirements, Centrexion expects to get the study underway in the first quarter of 2018. 

Given the rising incidence of osteoarthritis—the U.S. arthritis population is tipped to hit 78 million by 2040—and the toxicity and addiction-related shortcomings of existing therapies, Centrexion and its backers think there is a pressing need to push ahead with development.

“There is an urgent need for safer, more effective approaches to treating chronic pain, which is why we are thrilled to work with Centrexion to deliver on the promise of their exciting pipeline of novel, non-addictive pain therapeutics,” Sara Nayeem, M.D., a partner at NEA, said in a statement. 

Centrexion’s pipeline extends beyond lead candidate CNTX-4975. The Boston, Massachusetts-based biotech has four other assets in its publicly disclosed pipeline, three of which it licensed from Boehringer Ingelheim. Centrexion will use some of the series D funds to push these earlier-stage programs deeper into the clinic.