Eli Lilly and Co. employees knew the Alzheimer's treatment solanezumab was not a sure bet. But that didn't make the pain any less acute after the company announced the drug had failed to demonstrate effectiveness during a 2,100-patient Phase 3 clinical trial.
Pharmaceutical companies have introduced medicines to treat dependence, reverse overdoses and deal with opioid side effects. But few effective and economically viable alternatives to addictive painkillers have emerged from the laboratory.
After struggling for more than 20 years to develop cancer drugs without success, West Lafayette-based Endocyte Inc. is pausing it own R&D efforts to concentrate on a potential blockbuster drug from a German chemical company.
The companies say the drug, now in late-stage clinical trials, could be more effective for pain treatment than opioids—a dangerous category of pain killers that includes hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl—without the abuse potential of such medications.