VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: AQS, OTCQB: AQSZF) (“Aequus” or the “Company”), a specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing, advancing and promoting differentiated products, is pleased to announce the signing of a term sheet to co-commercialize a portfolio of products in the USA with Medicom Healthcare, a United Kingdom based pharmaceutical company with a focus on preservative free therapies in ophthalmology.
Under the proposed agreement, Aequus and Medicom will jointly commercialize Medicom’s range of preservative free ophthalmics in the United States of America. The companies will be working together for the first part of 2020, prioritizing programs and developing commercialization plans for the selected programs.
“The structure of the deal is akin to a joint venture, with revenues shared equally and investments and contributions made by each party reconciled through a joint P&L. There are no upfront requirements or commitments on spend and there will be a diligence phase to assess and prioritize which programs to move forward with from Medicom’s portfolio,” said Doug Janzen, CEO and Chairman, Aequus Pharmaceuticals. “This sets us up for success as we plan our entry into the largest therapeutic market in the world.”
Simon Martin, Founder and CEO of Medicom Healthcare and former Head of Novartis Global Ophthalmology Franchise said, “Medicom Healthcare is well poised to be one of the leading suppliers of Preservative Free ophthalmics globally. Our core belief is in “Preservative Free for Everyone”. The science is clear that non-preserved eye medicines are more beneficial than preserved and our rich portfolio will benefit US patients as we commercialize products with Aequus. Our initial commercial strategy will be to work with Insurers, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (“PBM’s”) and Business to Business (“B2B”) relationships to begin generating US revenues in 2020 without building a large infrastructure. We expect our infrastructure will be very light and highly focused on managed markets.”
The first products launched in the US may include:
- The Evolve® line of preservative free dry eye products;
- A preservative free prescription product for the treatment of open angle glaucoma;
- A range of supporting diagnostics.
“We are tremendously excited about this next stage in the growth of Aequus, while deepening the growing strategic relationship with Medicom,” said Doug Janzen CEO and Chairman of Aequus. “Both Aequus and Medicom are successfully growing and gaining market share for their ophthalmology products in Canada and the UK respectfully, and we are excited to jointly leverage our learnings and ophthalmic relationships as we approach this significant market. The best way to grow our business is to take existing knowledge and expertise into bigger markets and to do this with trusted partners.”
Christian Martin, Managing Director of Medicom Healthcare sheds more light on this joint effort. “Our alliance with Aequus allows us to reach the patients we need to serve. Medicom Healthcare’s commitment to elevate the awareness, affordability and availability of eye care globally is echoed by our dedication to realize a world that is ‘preservative free for everyone’.”
“This agreement is highly intuitive for both organizations,” said Ian Ball, Chief Commercial Officer of Aequus Pharmaceuticals. “Medicom has the fastest growing dry eye portfolio in the UK, and Aequus is looking forward to launching Medicom’s Evolve line of dry eye disease products in Canada in 2020. Aequus has grown to over 8% market share in our core glaucoma market in Canada and we believe taking these assets into existing multi-billion dollar markets really leverages our collective expertise and is a very natural progression for us all.”
Launched in 2015 in Europe, the Evolve® brand has grown to 5 products across 35 countries. With an array of products, the brand can address the various symptoms involved with dry eye disease and Blepharitis including discomfort, stinging, burning, and dryness. Currently in the US, the dry eye market is estimated at over $2bn, which includes both prescription and over-the-counter products. All of the products in this portfolio would be regulated as over the counter (“OTC”) or 505B2 products, which are abbreviated regulatory pathways in the US.
ABOUT THE GLAUCOMA MARKET
Fortune Business Insights recently published a report, titled “Glaucoma Therapeutics: Global Market Analysis, Insights and Forecast, 2019-2026.” According to the report, in 2018 the global glaucoma therapeutics market was worth ~US$6bn. However, the global market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 6.1% and reach ~US$10bn by the end of 2026. According to the report glaucoma therapeutics market in North America was worth US$ 2.4B in 2018.1
ABOUT AEQUUS PHARMACEUTICALS INC.
Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V:AQS) (OTCQB:AQSZF) is a growing specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing high quality, differentiated products. Aequus has grown its pipeline to include several commercial products in ophthalmology and transplant, and a development stage pipeline in neurology. For further information, please visit www.aequuspharma.ca
ABOUT MEDICOM HEALTHCARE LTD.
Medicom Healthcare, is a rapidly growing, specialty Ophthalmic company with a strong track record of execution, having developed and launched 25 eye care products globally since 2007. Medicom Healthcare’s mission is to provide high quality eye care products that are designed, manufactured and delivered with excellence and to continually improve the awareness, accessibility and affordability of eyecare around the world. Medicom Healthcare is committed to delivering their vision of Preservative Free for Everyone. For further information, please visit www.medicomhealthcare.com
This release may contain forward-looking statements or forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation that may not be based on historical fact, including, without limitation, statements containing the words “believe”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “estimate”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “potential” and similar expressions. Forward- looking statements are necessarily based on estimates and assumptions made by us in light of our experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as the factors we believe are appropriate. Forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements relating to: the Company’s outlook with respect to Medicom and the benefits of the Collaboration and the regulatory requirements for the undisclosed preservative free therapeutic, jointly commercialize Medicom’s range of preservative free ophthalmics in the United States of America, The structure of the deal akin to a joint venture, Our initial commercial strategy will be to work with Insurers, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (“PBM’s”) and Business to Business (“B2B”) relationships to begin generating US revenues in 2020 without building a large infrastructure, we expect our infrastructure will be very light and highly focused on managed markets, the successful execution of the broader license agreement, peak annual sales in the USA of the undisclosed preservative free therapeutic, and the addition of products to the Company’s portfolio. Such statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to risks and uncertainties and are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by Aequus, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors could cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In making the forward looking statements included in this release, the Company has made various material assumptions, including, but not limited to: obtaining positive results of clinical trials; obtaining regulatory approvals; general business and economic conditions; the Company’s ability to successfully outlicense or sell its current products and in-license and develop new products; the assumption that the Company’s current good relationships with its manufacturer and other third parties will be maintained; the availability of financing on reasonable terms; the Company’s ability to attract and retain skilled staff; market competition; the products and technology offered by the Company’s competitors; and the Company’s ability to protect patents and proprietary rights. In evaluating forward looking statements, current and prospective shareholders should specifically consider various factors set out herein and under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form dated April 24, 2019, a copy of which is available on Aequus’ profile on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com, and as otherwise disclosed from time to time on Aequus’ SEDAR profile. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties, or a risk that is not currently known to us materialize, or should assumptions underlying those forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described herein. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this release and we do not intend, and do not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws. Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and are inherently uncertain. Accordingly, investors are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward looking statements.