The Netherlands


To this date, millions of people experience chronic lower back pain (CLBP) and pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA). This is causing a huge economic burden due to massive productivity loss in the western society.


Currently no effective pain management is available for orthopaedic diseases such as osteoarthritis and chronic low back pain. Corticosteroid injections are being used for pain management in the joint, but pain relief is short, and injections therefore would have to be repeated frequently. Because of the risk of infection, the lack of evidence and the associated burden to the patient, this is seldomly done. Nevertheless, it is estimated that the steroid injection market will grow to $8.2B by 2027.


 This versatile extended-release drug delivery platform can be used with existing and future drugs for pain management in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) and osteoarthritis (OA).


The venture, Epione Therapeutics, has a worldwide exclusive license on the several formulations, including formulations of celecoxib and triamcinolone for use in joint OA and CLBP and an exclusive option to extend this. Both assets (EPN-001 and EPN-002) have proven to be safe and effective in CLBP and OA animal models, up until canine patients. With the preclinical work finished and the early clinical development program written, the assets are ready for the clinical stage.

Meet the team


Joost van Bree



Johanneke Maenhout

Venture Partner

Johanneke joined NLC in November 2016. She has a decade of experience in strategic and operational health care consulting and health economics and is interested in accelerating the role of technology and innovation in improving health and the healthcare landscape. At NLC, Johanneke is responsible for a smooth venture-building process and the personal development of the people within.