Convergence Pharmaceuticals, the UK-based biotechnology company set up last month with neuroscience assets acquired from GlaxoSmithKline, has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with contract research organisation (CRO) Selcia Limited to identify and develop candidate molecules for the treatment of chronic pain.

Under the agreement, Convergence will apply its ion channel biology platform, medicinal chemistry know-how and preclinical development expertise to Selcia’s medicinal chemistry and chemistry support services, explained the two companies. No financial terms were disclosed.

As part of the Convergence spin-out from GlaxoSmithKline, the latter retained an 18% equity stake in Convergence in return for two clinical-stage voltage-gated sodium channel blockers – CNV1014802 (previously GSK1014802) for neuropathic pain and  CNV2197944 (previously GSK2197944] for neuropathic and inflammatory pain including osteoarthritis – as well as other, earlier-stage compounds and contributions in kind.

According to Dr Ged Giblin, head of chemistry and preclinical development at Convergence Pharmaceuticals, the collaboration with Selcia “uniquely enables our goal of identifying novel, high-quality, targeted molecules for the treatment of chronic pain”. Convergence has “a team of highly experienced pain scientists in the field of ion-channel technology and medicinal chemistry, and we look forward to maximising the capabilities of Selcia’s expert medicinal and synthetic chemists”, Giblin added.

Selcia is a privately owned CRO with two operating divisions, Selcia Discovery and Selcia Radiolabelling, and headquarters in Ongar, UK. Selcia Discovery provides integrated drug discovery services to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including in vitro biology, screening, fragment screening, medicinal, organic and analytical chemistry, in vitro ADME/PK (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion/pharmacokinetic) evaluation and in vivo pharmacokinetics.