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02 October 2018

Collaborate to innovate

The Leitmarkt NRW program

Our experts are pushing the boundaries of science to develop innovative medicines that improve quality of life for pain patients – in collaboration with strong partners from across academia and industry.

Innovations in medicine can have an enormously positive impact on patients and their families. Based on a strong understanding of patients’ needs, Grünenthal is striving to identify new approaches and enhance processes in pain research. Our goal is to enable the development of innovative treatments that tackle unmet medical needs, increase efficacy and reduce side effects. Because some of these projects are extremely complex, we join forces with partners with different areas of expertise. Together, we aim to create trailblazing solutions that improve treatment outcomes for patients.

Grünenthal is headquartered in Aachen, in the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). With this location we’re in a unique position to enter into innovative partnerships, as no other German federal state provides a higher concentration of universities, research centers, start-ups and biotech companies. Additionally, the state’s government promotes research partnerships through a range of initiatives: The Leitmarkt NRW program, for example, encourages innovation in markets that are particularly important for the future – like life sciences. Teams from across academia and industry can submit their joint research projects to an independent panel of experts. The best solutions receive funding from the state as well as from the European Regional Development Fund.

Our experts recently entered three collaborative projects into the LifeScience.NRW competition. Two of the projects are led by Grünenthal, while the third one is a project that our experts were invited to join thanks to our expertise and reputation as a global leader in innovative pain research. Together, we submitted these projects:

  • NeuRoWeg: This project aims to gain a deeper understanding of the molecular foundation of neuropathic pain and develop new test systems based on stem cell technology. This could give researchers a much clearer indication of the efficacy of new pain medicines for neuropathic pain, a condition that affects between seven to ten percent of the population.
  • Dual2PET: Multiple ligands – drugs which have more than one mechanism of action and interact with more than one pharmacological target – promise improved therapies for chronic pain, however often struggle to move from pre-clinical to clinical development. That’s why this project is exploring a new process: It leverages modern imaging technology to more clearly demonstrate the multiple mode of action of these substances. If successful, it could reduce the costs associated with unsuccessful clinical trials and facilitate the development of highly effective medicines for patients with severe or chronic pain.
  • PAIN-VIS: This project aims to lay the ground for an objective method for diagnosing pain in patients. It’s taking advantage of modern positron emissions tomography (PET) imaging technology to make the location and intensity of the pain visible to the doctor – which could support a more accurate diagnosis and a more effective treatment.

All three of our joint projects were approved for funding – an impressive achievement considering that only around 20 percent of the total 120 submitted projects are accepted. Together with our partners, we will continue to work on these projects to bring innovative treatment solutions to patients and their families.

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