Confo Therapeutics Announces Selection of First Product Candidate and Initiation of Pre-Clinical Development

Confo Therapeutics Announces Selection of First Product Candidate and Initiation of Pre-Clinical Development


Ghent, Belgium – October 15, 2020 – Confo Therapeutics today announced the selection of its first preclinical drug candidate, CFTX-1554, a compound designed to address peripheral neuropathic pain with the potential to address additional pain indications. Confo has applied its proprietary, fragment-based drug discovery and structure-guided drug design technologies to identify CFTX-1554, a novel inhibitor of angiotensin II type 2 receptor, or AT2R, a clinically validated target for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The Company has initiated Phase I-enabling studies and aims to advance CFTX-1554 to clinical development upon successful completion of these studies. As the Company’s first discovery program ready to enter preclinical evaluation, the selection of CFTX-1554 marks the achievement of a significant corporate milestone in the development of Confo’s internal pipeline. CFTX-1554 represents one of many compounds that the Company will continue to evaluate as a means of addressing a range of underserved indications.

Current treatments for peripheral neuropathic pain are lacking in efficacy and often result in severe side-effects including sedation, addiction and/or respiratory depression. In addition, the development of new therapeutics is hampered by the lack of mechanistic understanding of this condition. While AT2R is a verified target for neuropathic pain, clinical-stage compounds that have been tested to date have failed to progress due to side effects and/or toxicity concerns. While targeting the same pathway, CTFX-1554 more efficiently interacts with the AT2R binding site, resulting in improved drug-like properties. Confo believes that this previously unexplored binding site interaction holds the potential for its lead compound to be both safe and efficacious in a disease area with severely limited treatment options.

“Recent pharmaceutical efforts testing an AT2R antagonist have achieved clinical proof-of-concept in treating neuropathic pain but resulted in problems with safety and tolerability. By leveraging our rational drug design and small molecule expertise to identify and create CFTX-1554, we believe this novel chemical entity could better and more safely inhibit AT2R as a validated target in neuropathic pain,” said Christel Menet, CSO of Confo Therapeutics. “Although we are in the first stage of proving the potential of this compound, we have made a large step forward as an organization toward applying our technology to solve pharmacological challenges.”

Commenting on the selection, Paolo Vicini, CDO of Confo Therapeutics added: “Peripheral neuropathic pain can manifest as a result of a variety of conditions including diabetic peripheral neuropathy and chemotherapy-induced neuropathy. Based on its unique pharmacology, we see CFTX-1554 as a differentiated therapeutic option with the potential to help patients suffering from debilitating neuropathic pain and potentially even inflammatory pain. We look forward to advancing CFTX-1554 through preclinical development.”

About Peripheral Neuropathic Pain

Peripheral neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord. The condition causes abnormal pain sensations and/or pain from normally non-painful stimuli, and can be episodic or continuous. To date, it has remained difficult to safely and effectively reduce pain in patients with peripheral neuropathy. One of the very few new compounds that have demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept in neuropathic pain is EMA401, or olodanrigan, an AT2R antagonist which Novartis acquired in 2015 from Spinifex. The development of EMA401 was recently discontinued in the course of Phase II clinical trials because of concerns arising out of ‘pre-clinical toxicity data’ that became available after the start of the trial. Confo aims to address this indication with CFTX-1554, a novel inhibitor of angiotensin II type 2 receptor, or AT2R, which has the potential to be safer, more tolerable and result in fewer side effects.


About Confo Therapeutics

Confo Therapeutics’ unparalleled technology stabilizes functional conformations of GPCRs (G protein-coupled receptors) to uncover a wide range of previously inaccessible drug targets. This platform combined with the pharmacologic and biologic insight it provides, allows Confo to build a multi-indication pipeline of drug candidates with the vision of transforming therapeutic outcomes for patients with severe illnesses lacking disease-modifying treatments. Confo Therapeutics was spun out of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and VIB in 2015. Supported by international life-science focused investors and led by an experienced team of entrepreneurial professionals and scientists from successful biopharmaceutical companies, Confo Therapeutics benefits from the rich scientific and innovative ecosystem in Belgium.

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For more information, please contact:

Confo Therapeutics

Dr. Cedric Ververken, CEO

+ 32 (0) 9 261 0670

Trophic Communications

Gretchen Schweitzer or Valeria Fisher

+49 (0) 89 2388 7730