Our History

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Focusing on chronic pain

PharmNovo was founded in 2008 by the international medical researcher Bengt von Mentzer after 27 years as a drug discovery group leader for Astra Zeneca.

Finding a safe and effective way to help patients suffering from neuropathic pain, a population facing increasingly challenging conditions, has been the Holy Grail from the start for Bengt von Mentzer. With a focus on chronic pain treatment, PharmNovo started to develop novel delta opioid receptor agonists.

In collaboration with his colleague, medicinal chemist Ingemar Starke, Bengt von Mentzer identified novel potent, selective, and biased DOR agonists, an entirely new concept in pharmacology at the time.
In 2010, David Kendall, Professor of Pharmacology at Nottingham University, UK, joined the company and was appointed Chief Scientific Officer in 2015.

Under the leadership of David Kendall , PharmNovo has built long-standing collaborations with scientists at the University of Bristol (UK), the University of Pecz (HU), University of Michigan, Washington University and several other leading research centres, as well as an international network of leading pain experts and advisors.

The collaboration with Professor Eamon Kelly’s research group at the University of Bristol has been supported by grants from the UK Medical Research Council and that with the US colleagues by a grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse

Pre-clinical studies were completed in 2020 for the candidate compound PN6047 with very promising results. PN6047 proved to be very potent in relieving neuropathic pain and, at the same time, essentially free of side effects.

In 2020 PharmNovo was granted a patent in the USA. Today, PharmNovo holds the intellectual property rights for PN6047 in all major markets, Europe, USA, Japan, China, and Australia.

In 2022, PharmNovo received approval from the Medical Products Agency and the Swedish Ethical Review Authority to start clinical studies of PN6047. The first-in-human clinical phase I study began in August of the same year and has shown very promising results so far.

Phase II studies are planned to start in Q2 2024. If all continues according to plan, PharmNovo may well be able to present the market with an approved pharmaceutical treatment in six to seven years,

PharmNovo’s team has grown during the past years and today consists of very experienced researchers in academia and industry, and the company has an extensive international network of leading expert advisors.


Collaboration with AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca granted PharmNovo AB a project application of novel delta agonists, including 105 molecules, data, and compounds. The compounds and patent application were abandoned in 2012 following the invention of our own molecules.


Funded by region Västra Götaland

VGR (Region Västra Götaland) funded PharmNovo with 0.4 million SEK.


Another fund from VGR

VGR fund PharmNovo with 0.45 million SEK.


Agonists selected

Two candidate selective and biased delta agonists were chosen for further development, PN6047 and PN6053.


Funding by Angel Investor

Angel Investor funded PharmNovo with £200.000 + £100.000 on two occasions, in 2014 and 2015.


Patent applications submitted

Patent applications for PN6047, PN6053 and others were submitted to the Swedish Patent Office.


International patent applications

Patent applications for PN6047 and PN6053 were withdrawn from Swedish Patent Office and instead resubmitted as PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications and further 2016 as a European patent application and in 2017 as a worldwide patent application.


MRC grant approved

Medical Research Council grant for three years approved with Eamonn Kelly, University of Bristol,


European Patent demand approved

European patent demand defended approved.


Capital investment and US patent received

PharmNovo was funded by new capital investments to finance patent costs and finalize pre-clinical studies. The US patent was granted for PN6047, and the European patent was in the final approval process.


Complete toxicology plan, EU patent

A synthesis method for large-scale production of PN6047 was developed. Pre-toxicology studies leading up to a complete regulatory toxicology plan were continued. The European Patent Office granted a patent in Europe.


New CEO, pre-clinical studies initiated, new funding

Per von Mentzer was appointed the new Chief Executive Officer of PharmNovo. PharmNovo completed a new share issue of 22 million SEK.


Promising results in pre-clinical studies

The last significant patents were granted in China and Canada for PN6047, and the results from the pre-clinical studies showed that PN6047 has high efficacy and low toxicity.


Start of clinical trials, new funding

The Clinical Trial Application (CTA) was submitted to the MPA and was approved. Phase I studies were initiated, and first-dose-in-human was given in August at CTC Clinical Trial Consultants AB. PharmNovo completed a new share issue of 67 million SEK. Funding $2.5million for collaboration with Profs Amyna Pradhan and Emily Jutkiewicz for studies of delta opioid agonists in animal models of the opioid withdrawal syndrome.


Ongoing phase I studies, planning for phase II studies

Phase I is ongoing, as well as preparation for Phase II studies, Proof of Concept, starting in 2024.

Latest news

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July 17, 2024

17.5m EUR blended funding from EIC

PharmNovo is very pleased to announce that we have been awarded a 2.5m EUR grant and an opportunity for up to 15m EUR equity investment from the European Innovation Council (EIC) for innovative pain treatment. The equity part being contingent on investments of equal amounts from co-investors.

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June 5, 2024

PharmNovo presenting at the Global Forum

On May 29–30, BioStock hosted the Global Forum. The event is the first of its kind, aimed at bringing together growth stage Nordic life science companies looking to expand into new markets and experts armed with a profound knowledge of how business is done across the globe.

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March 21, 2024

Positive final Phase I results

The final results from the Phase I clinical for our neuropathic pain drug candidate PN6047, demonstrates safety and tolerability and a lack of the adverse effects commonly associated with conventional opioids. The findings from the Phase I trial show that PN6047 is safe and well-tolerated at the doses tested, with no serious adverse events reported.

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March 10, 2024

Meet Bengt von Mentzer, founder and Chief scientific advisor

Bengt von Mentzer founded PharmNovo 16 years ago, and today, his visionary approach and scientific process still drive the development of the groundbreaking compound PN6047. At the intersection of innovation and scientific leadership, Bengt von Mentzer is paving the way for how to reshape the landscape of chronic pain treatment.

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