(Reuters)—Eli Lilly and Co. on Tuesday said it and partner Pfizer Inc. aim to seek approval by 2018 for a new type of pain drug that could be an alternative to opioids for osteoarthritis, chronic back pain and cancer pain.
The Indianapolis drugmaker said tanezumab, given by injection every eight weeks, could be a far more effective and appropriate alternative for chronic pain than opioids, without their abuse potential.
“Opioids cause addiction and (overdoses) that are killing more people than traffic accidents,” Jan Lundberg, Lilly’s research chief, says in an interview. “If our medicine proves effective and safe, that would be a huge opportunity.”
Pfizer and Lilly, in a $1.8 billion deal, agreed in 2013 to jointly develop and sell tanezumab for several pain-related conditions, with the companies equally sharing development expenses and future sales.