Research and Pipeline

Vertex is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing innovative medicines so people with serious diseases can lead better lives. Our scientists don’t see the impossible as an obstacle; they see it as a good place to start.

These studies are investigating treatments or outcomes that have not all received approval from a health authority. The information presented is not intended to convey conclusions of safety or efficacy. There is no guarantee that the outcome of these studies will result in approval by a health authority. 

About Pain

What is pain? Pain is a debilitating disorder affecting more than a billion people worldwide. Pain can be acute, coming on suddenly and lasting a short time, or chronic, lasting several months or more, and range in severity from mild to incapacitating. It is not a single condition because it develops from a variety of pathophysiological and psychological conditions. Common causes of pain include arthritis, neuropathies, operations and musculoskeletal injuries. Poorly managed pain can lead to a significant decrease in quality of life, and is often associated with complications, such as sleep interruption, immobility and major depression (which can potentially lead to suicidal ideation). The management of pain is complex. There is a significant unmet need for nonaddictive, properly utilized pain treatments. 

How is pain diagnosed? Pain can result from many types of conditions. It is one of the most common symptoms that causes people to go to a doctor. The evaluation of pain usually starts with a history and physical exam, including detailed questions about the pain and its impact on the person’s life. Other tests may include blood and imaging tests. A health care professional may also refer people to pain specialists for additional evaluation and testing. 

What is the underlying cause of pain? There are many biological factors that contribute to developing a pain response, including the presence of an illness or injury, other comorbid conditions and/or specific genes that influence pain tolerance. The nervous system, through voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV), is responsible for how the body senses, transmits and interprets pain. These NaV channels help mediate activity in excitable cells throughout the body. Some channels, like NaV 1.7 and 1.8, which have been validated through human genetics, play an important role in transmitting pain signals from peripheral sensory neurons to the central nervous system.

The Vertex Approach

We are focused on researching and discovering medicines aimed at the underlying cause of pain. Although the function of voltage-gated sodium channels like NaV 1.7 and 1.8 as related to pain sensation has been understood since 2006, no one has successfully developed a treatment that uses these mechanisms to relieve pain. Because of the significant prevalence of pain across the world and health complications it may cause, we believe that there is a significant unmet need for potential new treatments. 

We are investigating an approach to treating pain, targeting and potentially interrupting pain signaling at its root. We are investigating VX-150 and other molecules as potential non-opioid medicines for the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, including chronic neuropathic and chronic musculoskeletal pain. VX-150 is designed to block pain sensation by selectively inhibiting the voltage-gated sodium channel 1.8 (NaV 1.8). We are continuing to discover, research and develop additional small molecule inhibitors for the potential treatment of acute and chronic pain.

Pipeline

Pain

VX-150
Phase 2

We are focused on researching and discovering medicines aimed at the underlying cause of pain. Although the function of voltage-gated sodium channels like NaV 1.7 and 1.8 as related to pain sensation has been understood since 2006, no one has successfully developed a treatment that uses these mechanisms to relieve pain. Because of the significant prevalence of pain across the world and health complications it may cause, we believe that there is a significant unmet need for potential new treatments.

We are investigating an approach to treating pain, targeting and potentially interrupting pain signaling at its root. We are investigating VX-150 and other molecules as potential non-opioid medicines for the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, including chronic neuropathic and chronic musculoskeletal pain. VX-150 is designed to block pain sensation by selectively inhibiting the voltage-gated sodium channel 1.8 (NaV 1.8). We are continuing to discover, research and develop additional small molecule inhibitors for the potential treatment of acute and chronic pain.

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT PAIN

Our Studies 

In 2016, Vertex completed a positive Phase 2 proof-of concept study in osteoarthritis. To learn more, visit clinicaltrials.gov

In 2018, Vertex completed a positive Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in acute pain following bunionectomy. To learn more, visit clinicaltrials.gov

In 2018, Vertex completed a positive Phase 2 proof-of-concept study in pain caused by small fiber neuropathy. To learn more, visit clinicaltrials.gov.

News

For more information from Vertex on pain, please visit the Newsroom.