Levicept is developing LEVI-04 (p75NTR-Fc), a novel biological agent for the treatment of chronic pain. It modulates the clinically-validated neurotrophin pathway leading to profound, yet safe, analgesia.
Clinical trials with antibodies to nerve growth factor (NGF) have demonstrated the efficacy of anti-NGF antibodies (eg tanezumab, fulranumab) in chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis, back pain and cancer pain. However, anti-NGF treatment is associated with rapid progression of osteoarthritis, leading to early joint replacement for some patients. In pre-clinical models of osteoarthritis, administration of p75NTR-Fc provides analgesia equivalent to that achieved with anti-NGF antibody treatment, but without rapid progression of osteoarthritis.
p75NTR-Fc treatment delivers neurotrophin homeostasis by providing stable binding proteins for the excess neurotrophins present in chronic pain states. However, unlike anti-NGF antibodies which ablate NGF signalling as they bind irreversibly to NGF, p75NTR-Fc provides analgesia while maintaining the neurotrophin function required for cartilage and bone repair.
LEVI-04 is a first-in-class proprietary fusion protein. It is being developed as an once a month injectable for the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic pain.