Pfizer and Eli Lilly have revealed more positive results for their non-opioid pain drug tanezumab – with significant improvements in chronic lower pack pain (CBLP).

The results come from a phase III study that evaluated tanezumab 10mg, demonstrating statistically signifiant improvements in pain at 16 weeks compared to placebo. Tanezumab 5mg showed some improvement in pain, but was not significant compared to placebo.

Development of the nerve growth factor (NGF) was delayed for years because of fear it was accelerating joint destruction.

Ken Verburg, tanezumab development team leader at Pfizer, said: “This study demonstrates the potential of tanezumab to treat individuals suffering from moderate-to-severe chronic lower back pain who have been unable to achieve relief with currently available medicine.

“This is one of the longest studies conducted to date in chronic low back pain. We look forward to further analyzing these results, and believe the data from this study will support our planned future global regulatory submissions in chronic low back pain.”

Tanezumab is an investigation moncloncal antibody that works by selectively targeting, binding to and inhibiting NGF. By inhibiting NGF, tanezumab may help to keep pain signals produced by muscles, skin and organs reaching the spinal cord and brain.

June 2017 saw Pfizer and Lilly gain fast track designation from the U.S. FDA for treatment of osteoarthritis and CBLP.

Today it is estimated 33 million Americans have osteoarthritis, and approximately eight million of these patients suffer from moderate-to-severe CLBP.