The pharmaceutical laboratory delves deeper into the search for medicines to treat pain.

The partnership agreement just reached by the Esteve Group and North American Mundipharma will provide the Catalan group with "resources and time" to "delve into research" for at least "the next five years". Mundipharma takes on the development of a clinical trial with three molecules against acute and chronic pain, developed at the Esteve NME center located at the Science Park of the University of Barcelona since mid-2012. This agreement will allow Esteve to pursue this line of work -60 Million Euros a year devoted to R&D- and focus on the search for new mechanisms of action of molecules or derivatives thereof in other therapeutic areas. «Everything points to the fields of Neurology and Psychiatry», admits Carlos Plata, Chief Science Officer of this family-owned company.

The alliance with Mundipharma «is neither coincidental nor is it to modify the R&D strategy we designed in 2009", says Albert Esteve, CEO of these Catalan laboratories. By focusing on pain, the company seeks to take on projects that provide solutions both to medical needs and to patients who fail to respond to existing therapies and end up developing health problems such as insomnia, anxiety, depression… or side effects due to long-term use of analgesics. Thus, Plata recalls that the treatment of pain conditions in Europe has a cost close to 3% of the regional GDP. The new generation of pain relievers could be launched between 2018 and 2019 if clinical trials to be conducted in the US bear fruit.

Albert Esteve, who belongs to the seventh generation of this family of pharmacists, emphasizes that the revenue received -846 million Euros over the next 10 years, depending on the final success- will allow pursuing the research programs and ensuring the Group's industrial development.

Esteve will cover the marketing of the new drugs in the US -involving some 300 million Euros- and in Spain, while the rest of the world will be left in the hands of Mundipharma. "We are in full synergy with Mundipharma, that's why it is the perfect company for the job", Esteve admits. Also, if development progresses, Esteve will make the most of four of its manufacturing plants. Indeed, their wide geographic distribution -Sintenovo, in Naucalpan de Juárez (Mexico); Zhejiang Huayi Pharmaceutical, in Hangzhou (China); and, in Catalonia, Celrà (Girona) and Banyeres del Penedès (Tarragona)- will ensure global supply. As the CEO points out, "this is a very important aspect when we talk about launching new drugs onto the market". Also, the company would most certainly "increase its numbers" (13% of workforce laid off in 2013).

The Esteve Group hopes to close the year 2014 with a net income of 830 Million Euros, exceeding the 818 M of 2013. Regarding the Spanish market in the short term, "while it will not grow, we shall adapt to the development of domestic trade", Esteve explains. Growth will come from the US, "where we are strong in generics sales -accounting for one third of our activities-, and also from new generics licenses in South Korea and Japan.