Close this search box.

Biotech launches with $135 million for Vertex-competing pain medicine

After three years being incubated by California VC Westlake Village BioPartners, a new biotech launched Wednesday with $135 million and plans to compete with Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

The startup is called Latigo Biotherapeutics, and it’s launching having already started a Phase 1 trial for a non-opioid pain medicine, LTG-001. The oral therapy is designed to silence pain-signaling neurons by blocking a sodium channel called NaV 1.8.


Westlake had set out years ago to scout out new options for pain medicines, and found a research desert, according to founding managing director Sean Harper. But NaV 1.8 has emerged as a promising option because of its potential to be non-addictive and to lessen pain without affecting a person’s central nervous system, digestion, or heart rate, as opioids can. There were still few high-quality molecules in development that could be licensed from an academic lab or another drug company, so Westlake decided to develop its own.

Get unlimited access to award-winning journalism and exclusive events.