Aequus Announces Expansion of Market Opportunity for its Long Acting Anti-Nausea Transdermal Patch
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AQS.V) (AQSZF) (“Aequus” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce a recent expansion of the market opportunity for its reformulated anti-nausea transdermal patch, AQS1303, into the European market. Diclectin®, the oral reference product for AQS1303 for the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, has recently received marketing authorization in the United Kingdom under the brand name Xonvea®. Aequus plans to launch AQS1303 in countries where an original oral form has been approved and an accelerated path to approval may exist for reformulated products. Previously, the focus had been on the United States and Canada, where Diclegis®/Diclectin® has been approved since 2013 and 1983, respectively. In those two markets alone, an estimated annual $200M USD market opportunity currently exists.
“The potential for our long acting anti-nausea transdermal patch to enter the European market following a UK approval of Diclectin is a very exciting development for this product,” said Anne Stevens, COO and Director of Aequus. “With over five million pregnancies in European countries every year, this is a significant market for us and we are delighted at the possibility of offering this easy to use alternative for women suffering from nausea and vomiting during their pregnancy.”
Following a review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) in June 2018, Xonvea® is expected to be available in the UK later this year, followed by further filings for approval in additional European territories. These approvals could provide the basis for a regulatory approval via a hybrid (accelerated) route for Aequus’ anti-nausea patch in the European market.
Aequus is developing a long acting transdermal anti-nausea patch containing pyridoxine and doxylamine to provide patients with an easy to use alternative to the oral form, which would help alleviate the nausea and vomiting symptoms of pregnant women. Aequus will be pursuing partnership opportunities in the European countries following this advancement.
Aequus’ extended release transdermal anti-nausea patch, AQS1303, contains the combination of pyridoxine and doxylamine (the active ingredients in Diclegis®/Diclectin®) currently used to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. AQS1303 is designed to provide patients with a convenient and reliable delivery system as an alternative to the currently marketed oral form, which is dosed up to four times per day. According to IQVIA data, Diclegis® sales in the United States were approximately $186M USD for 2017.
Aequus has advanced AQS1303 through an initial Proof of Concept clinical study, completed in September 2017. The Proof of Concept study was a single-dose cross-over comparative bioavailability study versus the currently approved oral version, Diclegis®/Diclectin®, and was successfully completed in nine healthy female volunteers. The results suggested that sustained delivery of therapeutic levels of the active ingredients through the skin over a multi-day period is possible with the current formulation. The formulation was well tolerated with no serious adverse events reported.
Based on FDA feedback, this product is expected to follow a Section 505(b)(2) New Drug Application, an abbreviated clinical pathway in which the FDA would allow for the Company to reference safety and efficacy data of the original oral tablet form of the medication. Aequus would expect this product to follow a hybrid pathway in the European market, similar to the 505(b)2 pathway in the US.