Our History

Search initiated 2008

Closeup of two hands with gloves holding a test container

About us » Our history

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

View all
October 3, 2023

Phase I study completed for PN6047

In August 2022, PharmNovo initiated the First-In-Human, (FIH), clinical study for the company’s drug candidate PN6047, aimed at evaluating its safety and tolerability. By August 2023, the study was completed, involving 104 subjects across 13 cohorts, which included both Single Ascending Dose (SAD) and Multiple Ascending Dose (MAD) cohorts. Each cohort consisted of 8 subjects, with 6 receiving active treatment and 2 receiving placebo.

Read more
October 3, 2023

PharmNovo presented at the BioStock Investor Meeting

PharmNovo participated at the BioStock Investor Meeting in Stockholm on September 20. Our CEO presented the development and phase I clinical study of our drug candidate PN6047, which is in its final phase.

Read more
September 28, 2023

No abuse potential shown in preclinical studies

We are delighted to share promising preclinical results for our innovative drug candidate PN6047, further confirming its safety profile. PN6047 is designed to provide relief from neuropathic pain, and these findings reinforce our commitment to safe and effective pain management as we prepare for Phase II trials in 2024.

Read more
September 10, 2023

Latest progress from PharmNovo at EFIC

PharmNovo will participate in the 13th Congress of the European Pain Federation, EFIC, in Budapest from 20-22 September. The EFIC Congress is the largest international congress on pain.

Read more