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Aequus and Medicom Healthcare ink pact to advance ophthalmology products in US

The deal is structured like a joint venture with revenues shared and investments by each firm reconciled through a profit and loss statement

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. - Aequus and Medicom Healthcare ink pact to advance ophthalmology products in US
The companies are likely to launch the Evolve line of preservative-free dry eye products in the United States

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CVE:AQS) (OTCMKTS:AQSZF) said Friday that it has signed a term sheet to jointly commercialize a portfolio of products in the US with Medicom Healthcare, a UK-based pharmaceutical company with a focus on preservative-free therapies in ophthalmology.

The Vancouver-based company said that under the proposed agreement the companies will be work together for the first part of 2020, prioritizing programs and developing commercialization plans for the selected programs.

In a statement, Aequus Pharmaceuticals CEO Doug Janzen said the structure of the deal was similar to a joint venture, with revenues shared equally and investments and contributions made by each party reconciled through a joint profit and loss statement.

READ: Aequus Pharmaceuticals highlights new research showing Vistitan's effectiveness at treating glaucoma

“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 Janzen. “This sets us up for success as we plan our entry into the largest therapeutic market in the world,” he added.

The first products launched in the US may include:

• Medicom’s 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.

“Medicom Healthcare is well poised to be one of the leading suppliers of preservative-free ophthalmics globally. 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,” said Medicom Healthcare CEO Simon Martin.

“Our initial commercial strategy will be to work with insurers, pharmacy benefit managers and business-to-business 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,” added Martin, who was the former boss of Novartis’ global ophthalmology franchise.

The Aequus Pharma CEO said the company was "excited" about the next stage in its growth, while deepening its strategic relationship with Medicom.

“Both Aequus and Medicom are successfully growing and gaining market share for their ophthalmology products in Canada and the UK, and we are excited to jointly leverage our learnings and ophthalmic relationships as we approach this significant market,” said Janzen.

Distributing Evolve line in Canada 

In March, Aequus doubled its commercial product roster with an exclusive license with Medicom Healthcare for a line of products to treat dry eye, including Medicom’s Evolve line of preservative-free, dry-eye products within Canada.

“Our alliance with Aequus allows us to reach the patients we need to serve,” said Christian Martin, managing director at Medicom Healthcare.

Meanwhile, Ian Ball, the chief commercial officer at Aequus Pharmaceuticals, described the agreement as “highly intuitive” for both organizations.

“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,” said Ball.

“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,” he added.

The dry-eye market in Canada is estimated at more than C$90 million.

Aequus is a specialty pharma company focused on commercializing drugs meant for the highly specialized areas of neurology, organ transplant and ophthalmology.

Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive 

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