All times are shown in EDT*

8:00 am Preconference Virtual Networking

8:50 am Chair’s Opening Remarks

  • Selwyn Jayakar Instructor in Neurology, Woolf Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital

Looking Back to Accelerate Neuropathic Pain Therapeutics to Patients in Need

9:00 am A Look Back at Clinical Study Failures of Promising Targets in Neuropathic Pain: “We Can’t Know Where We’re Going, If We Don’t Know Where We’ve Been”


  • Review of clinical study results for targets in neuropathic pain
    including sodium channels, CCR2, NMDA blockers, TrPV1 and others
  • Potential reasons for negative results
  • Proposed mitigations to increase the chances of success

Exploring Underlying Biology & Physiology of Neuropathic Pain to Identify Potential Therapeutic Targets & Pathways

9:30 am A Systems Pharmacology Approach to Discover Neuropathic Pain Therapies

  • Selwyn Jayakar Instructor in Neurology, Woolf Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital


  • Transcriptomics and proteomics data identify excitability pathways
  • Phenotypic assays identify excitability targets
  • A systems pharmacology approach mitigates side-effects

10:00 am Reverse Engineering Supraspinal Circuit Pathways Involved in Pain Modulation

  • Patrick Sheets Associate Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicity, Indiana University School of Medicine


  • Peripheral nerve injury disrupts neurons in the descending analgesic system
  • The chronic constriction injury model of neuropathic pain reduces excitability of cortical neurons that project to the periaqueductal gray in mice
  • Reduced activity of the medial prefrontal cortex observed in neuropathic pain is likely a result of functional changes to GABAergic cortical neurons

10:30 am Virtual Speed Networking & Break

Harnessing Preclinical Models & Pain Biomarkers to Demonstrate Mechanisms of Action & Objective Quantification of Pain Therapeutics

11:30 am Preclinical Models & Assays for Translational Pain Drug Discovery & Development: A Case Study in NaV1.7


  • Preclinical models for pain drug discovery should be mechanism-based
  • Orthogonal mechanism-based assays can increase confidence in predictions
  • Quantitative translation of NaV1.7 pharmacology across systems requires an accountability of the differences between those systems

12:00 pm Discovering Non-Opioid Pain Therapies Using All Optical Electrophysiology

  • Owen McManus Chief Technology Officer, Q-State Biosciences


  • Developing high throughput optical methods for functional characterization of electrical activity in neurons and engineered cell lines
  • Optical recordings from in vitro models of chronic pain using sensitized sensory neurons provide a scalable means to identify and optimize pain therapeutics
  • Developing small molecule and antisense oligonucleotide therapeutics for chronic pain

12:30 pm Development of a Matrix Metalloproteinase-2/-9 Inhibitor for the Treatment of Neuropathic Pain


  • Using “operant” pain read-outs in animal models to better predict clinical efficacy
  • Introducing “real world” pain conditions in rodent models that better translate to human pain conditions
  • Using biomarkers to better gauge target engagement and relevance to human disease

1:00 pm Scientific Poster Session

1:30 pm Lunch Networking Break

Exploring Approaches Harnessing the Neuro-Immune Axis to Tackle Neuropathic Pain

2:00 pm Adenosine Signaling & the Innate Immune System


  •  Understanding how the innate immune system senses cellular stress and injury
  • Cellular stress signals include mitochondrial DNA
  • The A3 subtype of the adenosine GPCR modulates the innate immune response to stress/injury

2:30 pm T-Cells Derived IL10 in Neuropathic Pain


  • Understanding how T-cells modulate neuropathic pain states
  • Sharing how cytokine IL10 inhibits neuropathic pain
  • Discussing how A3 adenosine receptor agonists reverse neuropathic by engaging T cell-dependent IL10 signaling pathways

3:00 pm Afternoon Networking Break

3:30 pm Exploring the Involvement of Microglia & CB2 Receptors in Neuroinflammatory Pathways that Contribute to Neuropathic Pain


  • Identifying CB2 as a therapeutic target in neuroimmune pathways
  • Harnessing blood brain barrier penetrable drugs to tackle neuropathic pain with central nervous system origins
  • Demonstrating pre-clinical efficacy in models of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, nerve ligation, and complex regional pain syndrome

4:00 pm The Neuroimmunology of Chronic Pain & Drug Reward: Pathways from Basic Science to Clinical Trials

  • Linda Watkins Distinguished Professor, University of Colorado & Founder of Xalud Therapeutics


  • Overview of immunology of pain at peripheral and central sites
  • Key importance of proinflammatory mediators peripherally and centrally argues for anti-inflammatory solution using interleukin-10 (IL-10)
  • Efficacy of non-viral IL-10 gene therapy (XT-150) in rodent models of neuropathic pain, now translating to human clinical trials
  • Translation of XT-150 to osteoarthritis in companion animals and now human clinical trials

Interactive Roundtable Discussions

4:30 pm Interactive Roundtable Discussions

  • Richard Malamut Chief Medical Officer & EVP, Collegium Pharmaceuticals
  • Theodore Price Eugene McDermott Professor & Director, Center for Advanced Pain Studies University of Texas at Dallas, Co-Founder of Doloromics


Our breakout roundtables will allow you to have more intimate and open discussions on some of the hottest topics and key areas of debate. Drive your own learning, crowd-source ideas and get inspired. Immerse yourself in the following discussions:


Using Molecular Approaches in Human Tissues to Identify New Neuropathic Pain Targets Discussing the Patient Continuum of Care Through the Chronicity of Pain – Are Patient Stratification & Combinatorial Therapeutic Approaches the Answer?

5:00 pm Chair’s Closing Remarks & End of Conference Day One

  • Selwyn Jayakar Instructor in Neurology, Woolf Lab, Boston Children’s Hospital