Forendo Pharma Oy announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to out-license the US development and commercialization rights for fispemifene to Apricus Biosciences Inc. Fispemifene is a selective estrogen modulator (SERM), which has shown efficacy in phase II in patients with secondary hypogonadism and in disease models of obstructive urination and chronic prostatitis.
Under the terms of the agreement, Apricus will be responsible for the clinical development and costs of the program, as well as all future commercialization in the US. Apricus anticipates to commence a Phase IIb clinical trial during the first half of 2015 to confirm the optimal fispemifene doses to treat men with secondary hypogonadism, and provide proof-of-concept data to evaluate the antiestrogenic and anti-inflammatory effects on the lower urinary tract and prostate in aging men.
Forendo will receive an upfront license fee of $12.5 million comprised of a $5 million cash payment and the issuance of $7.5 million in Apricus common stock based on the 360-day average market price of the Apricus stock. The agreement includes clinical and regulatory milestones payments to Forendo for up to $45 million, including FDA approval, in addition to commercial milestone payments totaling a potential $260 million based on achieving specified annual net sales of fispemifene levels up to $1 billion in the US. Apricus will also pay tiered royalties based on net sales to be achieved in the future by Apricus.
Fispemifene is an oral once-daily, new chemical entity SERM, with a unique profile that is ideally suited for use in men. Fispemifene is a tissue-specific SERM designed to treat secondary hypogonadism, chronic prostatitis and lower urinary tract symptoms in men. Two successful U.S.-based Phase 2 trials have demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept for the treatment of male secondary hypogonadism, without exhibiting the negative effects on prostate health often associated with testosterone replacement therapies. Apricus anticipates commencing a Phase 2b clinical trial during the first half of 2015 to confirm the optimal fispemifene doses to treat men with secondary hypogonadism, while assessing improvements in symptoms commonly associated with low serum testosterone levels, as well as lower urinary tract symptoms in aging men.
We are excited to work with the Apricus team, which has a demonstrated track record of innovation within men’s health and a strategy committed to addressing the unmet needs of these patients. Fispemifene, an unique SERM targeted for use in men, will offer both patients and physicians a differentiated alternative for treating urological conditions in ageing men”, said Risto Lammintausta, CEO, Forendo Pharma.
“The in-licensing of fispemifene in the United States is a transformative event for Apricus, signifying the achievement of a key corporate objective to build upon our current development pipeline with complementary, mid-staged clinical program,” “The agreement combines Forendo’s established leadership in SERM drug discovery with Apricus’ expertise in men’s health, and further underpins the potential for fispemifene to improve quality-of-life for the millions of men affected with hypogonadism and other male urological conditions” stated Richard Pascoe, CEO, Apricus Biosciences.
For further information, please contact
Risto Lammintausta, CEO, Forendo Pharma OY
Tel: +358 (0)40 310 8010
TO THE EDITORS
Fispemifene is a once daily orally administered selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). A Phase 2b clinical trial is expected to commence during the first half of 2015 to confirm the optimal fispemifene doses to treat men with secondary hypogonadism, and provide proof-of-concept data to evaluate the anti-estrogenic and antiinflammatory effects of reducing prostate volume and improving urodynamics. Fispemifene acts in secondary hypogonadism by inhibiting the negative feedback of testosterone production via an estrogen-blocking effect at the level of the pituitary, resulting in increased testosterone production in the testes, which in turn restores circulating testosterone levels to within, but not beyond, the normal range. In line with fispemifene’s mechanism of action, the treatment has been shown in Phase 2a studies involving a total of 149 hypogonadal men to normalize testosterone levels while retaining and, in some men, restoring testicular function, a feature of importance for infertile younger men with hypogonadal symptoms. Additionally, in line with fispemifene’s antiestrogenic action on the lower urinary tract (LUT), no negative effects on prostate volume, prostate specific antigen (PSA), or urodynamic obstructive symptoms were observed. Expanding on these observations seen in three-month clinical studies in hypogonadal men, preclinical studies involving fispemifene have shown the potential beneficial anti-estrogenic effects of fispemifene of reducing prostate volume and inflammation and improving urodynamics, opening up additional potential indications for this SERM in men with obstructive LUT conditions and chronic prostatitis.
About Forendo Pharma
Forendo Pharma is a drug development company based in Turku, Finland. Its core competence resides in organ specific hormone mechanisms, giving new opportunities to unmet needs in women ́s and men ́s health. The key programs are fispemifene, a program with positive Phase II data in treatment of secondary hypogonadism, and HSD17B1 enzyme inhibitor FP-5677, aimed for a novel specific treatment of endometriosis and based on the research in University of Turku. The core team of Forendo includes pioneers within Finnish drug development and leading academic professionals in endocrinology. Forendo is supported by the leading Nordic VC investors Karolinska Development AB, Novo Seeds and Finnvera.
Forendo retained Birch & Lake Partners LLC (www.birchandlake.com) as their advisor for the transaction.
Further information is available at www.forendo.com.
About Apricus Biosciences, Inc.
Apricus Biosciences, Inc. (APRI) is a biopharmaceutical company advancing innovative medicines to meet the needs of patients. The Company's lead product, Vitaros®, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, is approved in Europe and Canada and commercialized in several countries in Europe. Apricus’ marketing partners for Vitaros® include Abbott Laboratories Limited, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International GmbH, Hexal AG (Sandoz), Recordati Ireland Ltd. (Recordati S.p.A.), Bracco S.p.A. and Laboratoires Majorelle. The Company’s second-generation Vitaros room temperature device is under development and is expected to enhance the product's commercial value. The Company recently initiated a Phase 2a trial for RayVa™, the Company’s product candidate for the treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon. Femprox®, the Company’s product candidate for the treatment of female sexual interest/arousal disorder, has successfully completed an approximately 400-subject proof-of-concept study. The Company is currently seeking a strategic partner for Femprox. In October 2014, Apricus gained U.S. development and commercialization rights for fispemifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator, in Phase 2 development.
For further information on Apricus, visit www.apricusbio.com.