SYDNEY, Australia and BEDMINSTER, N.J., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- QRxPharma Limited (ASX: QRX and Pink Sheets: QRXPY), announced today a strategic alliance with Liaoning Nuokang Medicines Co. Ltd. ("Nuokang"), a Chinese biopharmaceutical company based in Shenyang, China, to develop and commercialise QRxPharma's venomics assets for the Chinese market. The strategic alliance involves Nuokang investing US$5.0 million for a controlling interest in a Hong Kong company that holds a license over two of QRxPharma's lead haemostasis product candidates: Textilinin, an antifibrinolytic agent, and Haempatch(TM), a potent pro-coagulant.
The transaction is expected to be completed by mid October 2009. On completion, a minority interest in the Hong Kong company will be held by Venomics Pty Ltd, which is a majority-owned subsidiary of QRxPharma and holds all of the venomics assets of QRxPharma. An affiliated company of Nuokang has also subscribed to a 10% interest in Venomics Pty Limited.
"We are very pleased to announce the strategic alliance of QRxPharma's venomics program with a leading Chinese biopharmaceutical company that has extensive experience in the development, manufacture and sale of therapeutics derived from snake venoms," said Dr. John Holaday, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, QRxPharma. "Blood loss in surgery and trauma is a significantly under-served market opportunity, and Nuokang's capabilities and resources will ensure that Textilinin and Haempatch(TM) progress quickly to the clinic."
Dr. Holaday further said that he was particularly pleased to have concluded this deal:
"This strategic alliance provides a great opportunity to extract value for QRxPharma shareholders from the venomics assets without diverting management's attention away from QRxPharma's main prospect with its Dual Opioid(TM) development programme in the area of pain management".
Venomics Pty Limited will be led by Ms. Janette Dixon as CEO and Dr. John Holaday as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Ms. Dixon has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors and spent a large part of her career working in Asia. Before joining QRxPharma in 2008, Ms. Dixon was the Managing Director of Pacific Pharmaceuticals Ltd, one of New Zealand's largest pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. "The Hong Kong entity holds the license to commercialise Textilinin and Haempatch(TM) in China. Data generated through the development of these products in China will support partnering activities in other territories. The Nuokang partnership minimizes the development costs for Textilinin and Haempatch(TM) while maximizing future potential returns to QRxPharma," said Ms. Dixon.
Nuokang is a leading, fully integrated China-based biopharmaceutical company focused on haematological and cardiovascular products. Nuokang's flagship product, Baquting, is one of China's most widely used haemocoagulase products for the treatment or prevention of bleeding. Baquting contains an enzyme obtained from the venom of the snake species Bothrops atrox.
Textilinin is a novel recombinant peptide that inhibits plasmin, a key enzyme in the fibrinolytic pathway and has potential to reduce blood loss in major surgery. In pre-clinical testing, Textilinin has compared favourably to other antifibrinolytic products such as Trasylol(R) (aprotinin), a product used to reduce perioperative blood loss in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Trasylol(R) enjoyed peak annual sales in excess of US$300 million before it was withdrawn from many markets due to concerns over its side effect profile.
Haempatch(TM) is a novel prothrombin activating protease, with properties similar to the human Factor Xa clotting factor. It is highly effective in clotting blood and stopping blood flow (haemostasis) and has compared favourably to thrombin in pre-clinical testing. Both Haempatch(TM) and the native form of Textilinin were originally isolated from the venom of the Australian Common Brown snake (Pseudonaja textilis) by researchers at The University of Queensland (UQ). A collaborative R&D project has been ongoing since 2003 between QRxPharma and this UQ research team to further develop Textilinin and Haempatch(TM) and screen Australian snake venoms for therapeutic leads. A jointly owned pipeline of early stage candidates has been developed.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking statements contained herein represent the judgment of QRxPharma as of the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees for future performance. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated to due to a number of factors including risks relating to the stage of products under development; uncertainties relating to clinical trials; dependence on third parties; future capital needs; and risks relating to the commercialization of the Company's proposed products.
QRxPharma (ASX: QRX and Pink Sheets: QRXPY) is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of new treatments for pain management and central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Based on a development strategy which focuses on enhancing and expanding the clinical utility of currently marketed compounds, the Company's product portfolio includes both late and early stage clinical drug candidates with the potential for reduced risk, abbreviated development paths, and improved patient outcomes. The Company intends to directly commercialise its products in the US and seek strategic partnerships abroad. QRxPharma's lead compound, MoxDuo(TM) IR, the first combination opioid product for the improved control of moderate to severe pain, successfully completed a Phase 3 study and a pilot Combination Rule study and met primary and secondary endpoints. The Company's preclinical and clinical pipeline includes other technologies in the fields of pain management, neurodegenerative disease and venomics. For more information: www.QRxPharma.com.
SOURCE QRxPharma Limited