UCB Announces Agreement with Verus Pharmaceuticals for Commercialization of Twinject® in Europe
Brussels, BELGIUM, August 21, 2006 - 17.30 CEST: Today UCB announced it has entered into an agreement with Verus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Verus), a pediatric-oriented specialty pharmaceutical company, for the commercialization of Twinject® in Europe. Twinject®, a novel epinephrine auto-injector indicated for the emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), was launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2005; it is the first and only product approved by the FDA and Health Canada that contains two doses of epinephrine in a single, compact device for self-administration.
The agreement includes an upfront payment to Verus, along with future launch and sales milestone payments, and royalties based on sales of Twinject® (0.3 mg and 0.15 mg versions) and Twinject® line extensions under development by Verus. In addition, UCB has an option to commercialize the entire Twinject® product line in all other territories beyond Europe (excluding the U.S. and Canada) and an option to commercialize certain next generation products under development by Verus for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis.
"There are significant unmet medical needs for those individuals at risk for anaphylaxis and, unfortunately, a dual-dose treatment option is not available in Europe today," said Robert W. Keith, President and Chief Operating Officer of Verus, "As a result, we are very pleased to be partnering with UCB, a company with a premier allergy franchise and significant commercial capabilities, to bring Twinject® to European patients at risk for this life-threatening condition."
"The agreement with Verus allows us the opportunity to build a European leadership position in an attractive, high growth market showing strong synergies with UCB's solid allergy business," stated Bill Robinson, Executive Vice President Global Operations of UCB, "UCB will now move toward initiating the European regulatory process for this novel product for the emergency treatment of anaphylaxis."
Anaphylaxis is a severe, life-threatening systemic reaction triggered by exposure to one or more various antigens, including foods, insect stings, drugs, and latex products. Up to 43 million people in the U.S. alone are at risk for anaphylactic episodes, and underlying incidence rates are expected to continue increasing in future years. Up to eight percent of children have food allergies, with sensitivities to peanuts and tree nuts among children having doubled in the past five years. The timing, location, pattern (including onset, severity and length) and specific treatment requirements for each future episode cannot be predicted in advance. As such, all at-risk patients need to be fully prepared at all times for these unpredictable episodes.
Twinject® Auto-Injector (epinephrine injection, USP 1:1000) is the only available product approved by the FDA that contains two doses of epinephrine in a single, compact device. This is an important feature, as published studies demonstrate that more than one dose of epinephrine may be required for approximately one in three patients to properly address the allergic reaction, with the second dose often needed within 5-10 minutes after the first. Furthermore, a recent study demonstrated that only 16% of patients carry two single-dose auto-injectors at all times. More information about anaphylaxis and Twinject® is available on Verus' Twinject® website at www.twinject.com.
Verus Pharmaceuticals is dedicated to improving the lives of children and those who care for them. Verus is building a portfolio of products for the unmet medical needs of children through acquisitions and alliances, with an initial focus on the treatment of asthma, allergies, and related diseases and conditions. Verus is differentiated by its pediatric orientation and its strong financial position and experienced management team, which allows the company to capitalize on an extensive network to build its product portfolio and pursue complementary transactions. The company's rigorous, disciplined approach to strategic decision-making and core competencies in development and commercialization is expected to provide significant value to its partners. More information about Verus is available on the company's corporate website at www.veruspharm.com.
Verus® and Twinject® are trademarks of Verus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
UCB (www.ucb-group.com) is a leading global biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the research, development and commercialisation of innovative pharmaceutical and biotechnology products in the fields of central nervous system disorders, allergy/respiratory diseases, immune and inflammatory disorders and oncology - UCB focuses on securing a leading position in severe disease categories. Employing over 8,300 people in 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 2.3 billion euro in 2005. UCB is listed on the Euronext Brussels Exchange.
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