According to the American Pain Society, pain is the most common symptom that prompts people to seek medical care, but its effective management remains inadequate, particularly for chronic pain.

Current treatments for pain mainly include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ("NSAIDs") for mild to moderate pain, and opioids, such as morphine, for moderate to severe and chronic pain. The opioids are notoriously associated with tolerance and dependence, while safety issues with Cox-2 inhibitors, an important class of NSAIDs, have limited their use.

The global pain management market for pharmaceuticals and medical devices was worth $36.6bn in 20141. The market for NSAIDs drugs was worth $11.4bn in 20142. Growth in this segment is driven by an ageing global population, the increased incidence of obesity and changing attitudes towards pain management.

These trends, combined with the increased incidence of osteoarthritis, the need for patients to manage contra-indications and their pain relief medication, means that topical formats of pain relief have become increasingly favoured by consumers, patients and healthcare professionals. Moreover the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) gives clear guidance to healthcare professionals to prescribe topical NSAIDs in the first instance for joint pain associated with osteoarthritis, in preference to oral NSAIDs, owing to concerns over systemic side effects caused by the long term use of oral NSAIDs.

This means that topically applied NSAIDs should be the first choice for physicians in the initial treatment of pain and the "best-in-class" product represents a substantial commercial opportunity.

In 2014, over the counter sales of topical analgesics were worth an estimated $2.9bn according to IMS. The market leader is Voltarol®/Voltaren® gel. Futura's lead products for pain relief, TPR100 and TIB200, which are topically delivered NSAIDs, target this market and are expected to be available as over the counter medicines in all key territories, other than the USA where all topical NSAIDs are only currently available with a doctor's prescription.

The US pain management market is the largest single market and represents a significant opportunity for an effective and safe topical NSAID. The US topical NSAID market has grown into a market worth over $1 billion3 after the first topical NSAID was launched in 2008.

Sources: 1 - MSP, BCC Research - The Global Market for Pain Management Drugs and Devices, September 2015; 2 - Evaluate Pharma estimate; 3 - IMS 2015