Orion deal with Jemincare involves a $16 million payment from Orion to Jemincare with milestones as well as royalty payments. The tiered royalty payments will be based on product sales and range from 8%-15%. The commercial sale will be made in the Orion territory, outside greater China.
The rights to commercial sale are not inclusive of mainland China and Hong Kong among others in the region.
The Orion agreement will allow for the company to develop as well as market Jemincare non opioid pain treatment. Jemincare is based in China and its non opioid treatment JMKX000623 treats pain of both chronic and acute nature. Its non addictive nature has the potential to be a necessary addition in the pharmaceutical sector.
JMKX000623 was developed by Jemincare which treats pain by working as an inhibitor of NaV 1.8 selectively. NaV 1.8 is responsible for the regulation of pain fibres’ transmissions and is a sodium channel subtype.
This critical role in the transmission of pain in the body was seen in both pre-clinical and clinical trials. The role of NaV 1.8 was genetically and pharmacologically established in these trials and the selective blocking of the NaV 1.8 in pain management was also studied.
Orion will be granted the right to develop and market the Jemincare drug for pain treatment through this Orion deal with Jemincare with the right to sell the treatment in its areas of distribution. While Jemincare will be receiving an upfront payment of $16 million, it will also continue to receive payments as Orion reaches milestones and goals in development, commercialization and sales.
The non-opioid pain treatment is in the pre-clinical phase so far.
Professor Outi Vaarala, Orion R&D senior VP stated: “We are excited about this agreement and are looking forward to taking this compound to clinical studies later this year. There is a high unmet need for new non-addictive treatment options with improved efficacy and safety profiles. NaV 1.8 channel is a known pain transmission pathway and is thus a promising target for novel pain treatments.”
Not long ago Jeminare was able to receive clearance for the pain treatment in China by the Investigational New Drug application (IND).
This agreement with Jemincare was signed after Orion had made the announcement of layoffs within the company, as well as a stay in R&D. More than 35 employees were laid off due to this move and the company stressed that it was doing so to build on its success in pain and cancer treatment, while moving away from the area of rare and neurodegenerative diseases which had seen less success.
In cancer treatment the company has worked on the development of an androgen receptor inhibitor called Nubeqa which was approved by the FDA 3 years ago.
Any NaV 1.8 blockers have not yet made an entry into the pain treatment market. However, Vertex Pharmaceuticals is making progress in this area and with the Orion deal with Jemincare, the companies will likely be competing with one another.
Vertex Pharma has its own NaV 1.8 inhibitors VX-961 and VX-548. The former performed well in phase 1 trials but the latter will be advanced by the company after success in phase 2 trials. Vertex has had discussions with regulators regarding their pain treatment candidate.