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Barcelona Science Park and Esteve create joint unit to discover new treatments for chronic pain

The two organizations are further strengthening their collaboration, which began more than 10 years ago, to focus on one of the most frequent unmet medical needs in Europe

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The new joint unit created by the Barcelona Science Park and pharmaceutical company Esteve will work on synthesizing new molecules with analgesic properties to treat chronic pain. The unit will be codirected by Dr. Carmen Almansa, director of Chemistry at Esteve, and Dr Míriam Royo, head of the PCB Combinatorial Chemistry Platform, and located at the Barcelona Science Park.

This unit will focus on the design and synthesis of new compounds for innovative therapeutic targets to develop effective treatments for chronic pain, one of the most frequent unmet medical needs in Europe and a priority under the Catalonia Health Plan.

An estimated one in five Europeans suffers from chronic pain, but in many cases treatment only provides a partial improvement. The aim of Esteve and the PCB is to create a treatment with fewer side effects and efficacy over 40%.

To do so, the new joint unit will use the cutting-edge tools available at both centers and new studies in medical chemistry to see how different molecules interact with innovative targets. The aim is not so much to find a selective compound for one target but to know which targets are relevant for each treatment, as Dr. José Miguel Vela, director of Preclinical Drug Discovery and Development at Esteve, told newspaper El Mundo.

Since these two organizations began working together in 2003 (establishing the pharmaceutical company's first laboratories at the PCB,) Esteve has gradually strengthened its ties with the Park and in 2012 established its Preclinical Drug Discovery and Development Center in the Edifici Clúster, with more than 2,300 square meters of top-notch facilities.

Esteve already has other joint units at the University of Santiago de Compostela and Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, which are an essential part of their R&D strategy.

Equip Unitat Mixta ESTEVE-PCB

From left to right and bottom to top: Míriam Royo, Pilar Gil, Carmen Almansa, Antoni Torrens, José Miguel Vela, Montserrat de Luna, Joan Carles Fernández and researchers from the ESTEVE-PCB Joint Unit - Photo: © PCB.

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