Sweden’s Orexo says it has extended its three-year research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim for a further 12 months from November 2008.

The pact is a part of an exclusive world-wide licence to develop and market a new class of drugs with a novel mechanism of action for the treatment of pain and inflammation which specifically inhibits the enzyme prostaglandin (PG) E synthase to reduce the production of PGE2. The latter is an endogenous substance that is central to various inflammatory processes, Orexo said, and thanks to its selective inhibition, the treatments could have fewer side effects than existing pain medications, notably non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The original deal, signed in 2005, has a potential value of 250 million euros in milestones, excluding royalties. Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer will continue research funding in the OX-MPI project and holds exclusive rights to all further compound development and marketing, except in the Nordic and Baltic regions, where the firms will co-promote.

Torbjorn Bjerke, Orexo chief executive, said “we are delighted to extend the excellent collaboration” with Boehringer, adding that the medical need in the area of pain and inflammation is considerable. This collaboration “has the potential to answer the patients’ and physicians’ need for a new treatment that is both safe and efficacious,” he concluded.