Lausanne, Switzerland, February 21, 2008 – Debiopharm Group (Debiopharm), a global independent biopharmaceutical development specialist in oncology and serious medical conditions, announces the signature of a License and Supply Agreement with Medical Futures Inc., a Canadian based Gastroenterology focused speciality pharmaceutical company, for the Canadian distribution rights to SANVAR® IR (SANVAR®), an immediate release formulation. The product, developed by Debiopharm for the treatment of acute esophageal variceal bleeding (EVB), is currently under review for approval by the Canadian Health Authorities. In addition to purchasing the product directly from Debiopharm, Medical Futures Inc. is responsible for upfront and milestone payments.
“Medical Futures Inc. is excited about partnering with Debiopharm for SANVAR®,” says Dr. Par Nijhawan, Chief Medical Officer of Medical Futures Inc., who believes that SANVAR® will help improve the options available for life threatening variceal bleeds.
“Medical Futures has created a therapeutic focus and a strong product offering for the gastroenterology market in Canada,” says Dr. Loïc Maurel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Debiovision Inc., the Debiopharm Affiliate in Canada. “With SANVAR® in their capable hands, we are confident of its success in an important market for us.”
Debiopharm has already signed various sales and marketing agreements for SANVAR®, namely with Salix pharmaceuticals in the US; Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd in the Indian territories; EMS Sigma Farma in Brazil; Tzamal Bio-Pharma Ltd in Israel; and LG Life Sciences in Korea.
SANVAR® (vapreotide acetate) is a synthetic octapeptide analogue of the naturally-occurring somatostatin hormone. It has similar pharmacological properties to native somatostatin but exhibits a longer duration of action. It is the only somatostatin analogue to have demonstrated statistically significant benefits in the early treatment of EVB in association with endoscopic therapy in a placebo-controlled clinical study (Calès et al. New England Journal of Medicine, 2001). Control of bleeding with survival at 5 days was achieved significantly (p=0.021) more often with SANVAR® than with placebo. In patients with clinically significant bleeding, Sanvar significantly reduced the number of deaths at day 15 (p=0.02) and 42 (p=0.002). Additional Phase III trials have been completed in Europe in this indication. SANVAR® can be stored at room temperature, an advantage over other products requiring refrigeration, allowing immediate administration, a key benefit in a life-threatening situation. It has been granted orphan drug status in the US, where EVB affects fewer than 200,000 patients per year, and received an approvable letter from the FDA.
About Debiopharm Group
Debiopharm Group is a global biopharmaceutical development specialist that in-licenses promising biologics and small molecule drug candidates. Debiopharm develops its products for global registration and maximum commercial potential for out-licensing to pharmaceutical partners for sales and marketing.
Debiopharm independently funds the worldwide development of all of its products while providing expertise in pre-clinical and clinical trials, manufacturing, drug delivery and formulation, and regulatory affairs.
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Debiopharm has developed three products with global combined sales in excess of $2.6 billion in 2006.
For more information on Debiopharm Group, please visit: www.debiopharm.com
About Medical Futures Inc.
Medical Futures Inc is a niche pharmaceutical company that distributes both pharmaceutical and natural therapeutic products into the gastrointestinal marketplace.
Founded in 2000, this privately held company is dedicated to advancing the quality of life for all Canadians with a mission to increase and enhance patient treatment options for the health care professionals.
Medical Futures Inc. has successful track records of bringing new drugs to address the unmet needs of the Canadian market with the objective to improve quality of life.