we create innovative pain solutions
At the University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMCU, The Netherlands) a new approach to treat chronic pain was identified in the research of the interaction between the immune system and pain pathways. Although the immune system and pain seem unrelated at first sight, the results obtained at the UMCU showed that cytokines, which are well known molecules playing an important role in the immune system and inflammatory processes, could influence neuronal circuits and dampen or even shut down pain. Earlier studies with individual cytokines, such as for example interleukin 10 (IL-10), did not show a significant reduction in pain. Therefore, the UMCU researchers decided to combine two individual cytokines into a fusion protein. Their prototype and novel fusion protein of IL-4 and IL-10 (the so-called IL4-IL10 synerkine) was very effective in resolving chronic pain in multiple preclinical models and surprisingly showed a synergistic effect compared to the activity of the two individual cytokines IL-4 and IL-10. The IL4-IL10 fusion protein was found to be effective against inflammatory, neuropathic and osteoarthritic pain, indicating that it targets common pain pathways in different types of chronic pain with a unique mechanism of action. Based on this work, the new spin-out of the UMCU Synerkine Pharma was founded in July 2018. The goal of the company is to translate the academic work into a pharmaceutical product. The company initially focusses on two indications: osteoarthritis and chronic neuropathic pain.