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Spherium Biomed, whose stakeholders include the Ferrer group, is a Catalan biopharmaceutical firm that acquires licenses for technology from academic sources and develops them through to market. The company has now launched a clinical trial to prove the validity of a product to treat severe pain in the temporomandibular joint.

The company has developed drug SP12006 by combining different products known to attack agents that cause pain. The results of the trial, which includes 96 patients, will arrive this year and, if they are positive, the product could become the first drug available to treat this pain, for which there is currently no specific medication.

Spherium says current treatments, including sleep guards, analgesics or anti-inflammatories, focus on re-establishing function and decreasing pain but don’t fully solve the problems and additional pharmacological treatments are needed. This is mainly due to the complexity of the temporomandibular joint and the wide variety of causes that lead to this disorder, which affects 5 million people in Europe and the USA and is the second most common cause of skeletal-muscle pain and disability, surpassed only by chronic back pain.

As CEO Luis Ruiz-Ávila told La Vanguardia, the project began in 2012 and could also be used to prevent muscular discomfort while doing athletic activity.

Spherium Biomed was founded in January 2014 through an agreement between Janus –as the company was called before– and Ferrer, which took a 77% stake in order to implement a new R&D model in the company. The firm now has a team of 13 employees, mostly doctors, and bills itself as an alternative project to improve conventional preclinical research for the pharmaceutical industry.

What sets Spherium apart is that it focuses on unmet medical needs to develop new therapies that can reach the regulatory phase. In fact, this is the company’s second product to reach the clinical phase, out of 11 total. The first was a gel to prevent and treat mucositis, one of the side effects most patients with head and neck cancer suffer from as a result of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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