GVK teams up with Endo on early-stage pain drug

Indian CRO GVK Biosciences has pulled in another pharma partner, teaming with Endo Pharmaceuticals ($ENDP) to discover novel small molecules targeting pain and inflammation.

The deal comes out of GVK's Early Discovery Assets portfolio, a system through which the CRO develops discovery targets internally and then, once they've reached a stage of demonstrated value, looks to partner and co-develop them with biotechs and pharmas.

The Endo partnership is focused on a small-molecule therapy targeting "an exciting protein," GVK said, and the deal is an early step in demonstrating the value of the company's EDA offerings, CEO Manni Kantipudi said in a statement.

For Endo, the allure of GVK went beyond just its novel approach to partnering, said Sandeep Gupta, Endo's senior vice president of drug discovery and early development. "With their world-class infrastructure and an experienced scientific team, I have no doubt that they will execute on the program goals and add to our portfolio of development candidates that provide novel treatment options for the patients," Gupta said in a statement.

Earlier this month, GVK snagged another pharma team-up with another innovative partnering structure: The CRO is working with Onconova Therapeutics on early-stage cancer therapies, but the deal increases GVK's financial stake as it meets certain milestones, getting as high as 50-50 by the time a candidate becomes an IND.

- read the announcement