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Relief Therapeutics Announces In-Licensing Agreement to Develop and Commercialize Atexakin Alfa For the Treatment of Peripheral Neuropathies


Relief Therapeutics a Swiss-based, privately owned startup company announced today an in-licensing agreement from Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical business of Merck, Darmstadt, Germany, giving Relief Therapeutics the worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize atexakin alfa. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under the terms of the agreement, Relief Therapeutics will develop atexakin alfa for the treatment of neuropathies. Atexakin alfa has the potential of relieving pain, as well as non-pain symptoms associated with neuropathies by restoring normal innervation in the periphery.

“This agreement constitutes a great opportunity to develop the first disease modifying treatment that has the potential to significantly reduce the burden of neuropathies to patients, care givers and society,” said Dr. Gael Hédou, co-founder of Relief Therapeutics.

About Atexakin alfa

Atexakin alfa is a human recombinant version of interleukin-6 that has shown in preclinical studies to induce the re-growth of nerves and to re-establish normal nerve conduction and sensory perception in various relevant animal models of neuropathies. Initially discovered at the Weizmann institute (IL), this molecule was first tested as a potential treatment for thrombocytopenia in chemotherapy-treated cancer patients allowing the delineation of its safety and pharmacodynamic profiles. Based on positive preclinical, toxicological and clinical data obtained at this time, Relief Therapeutics will engage into clinical development to test the therapeutic efficacy of atexakin alfa in diabetic patients suffering from neuropathy.

About Peripheral Neuropathies

Peripheral neuropathies are a group of conditions characterized by degeneration of peripheral motor, sensory, or autonomic nerves. Degeneration of peripheral nerves causes a wide variety of symptoms and signs ranging from intractable pain, numbness and tingling to potentially impairment of strength, balance, and coordination. Neuropathies develop as a result of toxic, inflammatory, infectious, genetic, neoplastic, and metabolic diseases. Medications, particularly chemotherapy are also a common cause. In the case of diabetic neuropathy, half of the diabetic population worldwide becomes affected during the course of their disease. Quality of life is heavily affected in patients with neuropathy and the costs associated with medical care and lost wages is substantial. There are very few therapies available to patients suffering from these disorders and treatments are often associated with side effects limiting their use. Furthermore, no treatment truly stops or reverses neuropathy. Atexakin alfa has the potential to restore nerve function and potentially alleviate painful and non-pain-related symptoms.

About Relief Therapeutics

Relief Therapeutics is a privately owned startup company based in Geneva, Switzerland, incorporated in 2013. Relief Therapeutics is committed to develop new treatments for diseases with high unmet needs and significant burden on patients’ quality of life and society.

This news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties causing results to potentially differ from the statements made. Relief Therapeutics and Merck Serono cannot be taken responsible in any manner if such statements are not verified in the future.

Contact information

Relief Therapeutics
Dr. Gael Hédou
tel:+41 79 457 0937

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