Sat, Apr 12, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Europe a promising market for new drug

BLOOD DISORDER:PharmaEssentia’s European partner expects the drug to hit the market next year or early 2016 and generate annual sales of up to 800 million euros

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

PharmaEssentia Corp’s (藥華醫藥) new drug for treating a blood disorder is forecast to generate revenue of up to 800 million euros (US$1 billion) a year in Europe, the firm’s European partner AOP Orphan Pharmaceuticals AG said.

The forecast figure is higher than PharmaEssentia’s own estimates of US$500 million, a company official said yesterday.

The P1101 (AOP2014) drug is designed to treat polycythemia vera, a disorder in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells.

The new drug, currently under phase-three clinical trials in the US and Europe, is expected to hit the markets between the end of next year and early 2016, said the official, who declined to be named.

PharmaEssentia licensed the drug to AOP in 2009, granting the latter exclusive rights to sell it in Europe. The Austrian firm expects the new drug would reach its peak sales five years after its launch.

Under the terms of their partnership, PharmaEssentia will book a milestone payment from AOP when the drug is approved for sale in Europe, in addition to royalties of about 20 percent of its sales and manufacturing fees for the drug.

The two companies maintain exclusive rights to sell the drug for 10 years after its launch in the US and seven years in Europe because P1101 is considered an orphan drug, one developed to treat a rare medical disorder, the official said.

However, PharmaEssentia will continue to report losses this year because it will book total expenses of NT$900 million (US$29.95 million), mainly from high research and development expenses of about NT$600 million, the official said.

“We are conducting three phase- three studies and many small trials at the same time this year,” she said.

The company posted a revenue of NT$75.97 million last year, up 1.67 times from NT$28.47 million the previous year. However, with total expenses reaching about NT$600 million, including NT$500 million for research and development, the company recorded a loss of NT$600 million or NT$3.2 per share, she said.

The company expects sales to rise by more than US$2 million this year as it ships more P1101 to AOP to test whether the drug can be used to treat other symptoms, the official said, adding that the company would conduct more experiments on a contract basis for other firms.

PharmaEssentia shares rose 2.3 percent to NT$155 yesterday, outperforming the over-the-counter index, which fell 1.6 percent.

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