Amgen will collaborate with SiteOne Therapeutics to develop the Montana-based biotech’s portfolio of novel sodium ion channel 1.7 (NaV1.7) inhibitors for acute and chronic pain, SiteOne said today.

While the value of the collaboration was not disclosed, SiteOne did say it formally closed on a $15 million Series B financing round led by Amgen, with participation from founding investors Next Frontier Capital, 2M Companies, Mission Bay Capital, Sears Capital Management, Biobrit, and Z Investments.

“This Series B financing and collaboration with Amgen will allow us to accelerate the development of our NaV1.7 therapeutic candidates in multiple potential applications for managing acute and chronic pain without the addiction potential and other significant side-effects of existing therapies,” Stan Abel, SiteOne’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“The opioid crisis in the U.S. has created a critical need for safe and effective nonopioid solutions for managing pain,” Abel added.

The company focuses on advancing treatments for moderate to severe pain that target the voltage-gated NaV1.7 channel. According to SiteOne, development of drugs targeting NaV1.7 has been challenging due to the difficulty of achieving selectivity for NaV1.7 over other closely related sodium ion channel isoforms. SiteOne says it has overcome that challenge through its discovery engine, which leverages natural sodium channel inhibitors of marine origin.

“NaV1.7 is a target of great interest for neuropathic pain due to its human genetic validation,” stated David Reese, svp of translational sciences at Amgen.

SiteOne is headquartered in Bozeman, MT, with a research team based at QB3 in San Francisco. The company was founded to commercialize technology licensed from Stanford University and has won more than $3 million in NIH Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant funding in addition to support from its founding investors.

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