novel compound is being developed by Zalicus (NASDAQ: ZLCS).
Z160 has demonstrated broad preclinical efficacy and clinical safety. This compound is effective in multiple neuropathic and inflammatory pain models. Zalicus showed that Z160 is well tolerated in prior Phase I and Phase IIa trials in approximately 200 subjects. Currently, Z160 is located in two Phase IIa clinical trials in neuropathic pain indications. Z160 has the potential for an Orphan Drug Designation with a clear regulatory path. This market is dominated by Lyrica (pregabalin), Neurontin (gabapetin), Cymbalta (duloxetine), and Lidoderm ( 5% lidocaine patch). These drugs are commonly used to treat all forms of neuropathy. The market of neuropathic pain is a $2 billion market and growing in the US only. For these reasons I think that Z160 will be a future candidate, which may be interesting for Pfizer.
The history of the compound (Z160) shows interest from major pharmaceuticals. Z160, previously known as NMED160, was a development of Neuromed. This company and CombinatoRX (Zalicus) merged in July of 2009. Neuromed came to the agreement in 2006 to license this product to Merck (NYSE: MRK) for NMED160. This deal was originally valued at $475 million, plus ongoing worldwide royalties. NMED160 targeted N-type calcium channel blockers for chronic pain. It was later de-prioritized in Phase II trials because of bioavailability issues and was released from Merck. Zalicus solved the problems of bioavailability with the help of European experts and relaunch the development.
I believe that Pfizer is following this development. Z160 could resolve the future of Pfizer and Lyrica's expiring patent, which will be lost in 2018.