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.


Together with researchers from UMC Utrecht, DSM Biomedical has developed drug formulations based on the bioresorbable and biocompatible PolyEsterAmide (PEA) polymer platform. 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


Johanneke Maenhout

Venture Partner at NLC

Pro-active, dedicated and an analytically strong teamplayer, with a decade of experience in strategic and operational health care consulting and health economics. Interested in accelerating the role of technology and innovation in improving health and the health care landscape. At NLC, she carries main responsibility for a smooth venture building process and personal development of the people within.