Mundipharma and associate Purdue Pharmaceuticals have linked up with Spain’s Esteve to develop “important next-generation products” for the management of pain.

The agreement is centred around E-52862, Esteve’s first-in-class new chemical entity targeting the sigma-1 receptor pathway, which is currently in Phase II covering multiple neuropathic pain indications. The partners claim that payments to Esteve could exceed $1 billion if all development, regulatory and sales milestones are met across the multi-programme collaboration.

Also included in the agreement is E-58425,  a co-crystal of tramadol and celecoxib. A Phase II study in acute postoperative pain has shown that the therapy demonstrated superior efficacy and safety over both placebo and a standard of care; if all goes to plan, Esteve will commercialise E-58425 in the USA and Mundipharma in the rest of the world.

Albert Esteve, chief executive of the Barcelona-based group, said that collaboration will benefit from “our pain pipeline and Mundipharma’s and Purdue’s development, market access and commercialisation strengths”.