Aequus Receives Positive Formulary Decision in British Columbia for Specialty Portfolio Product
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 16, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. (TSX-V: AQS, OTCQB: AQSZF) (“Aequus” or the “Company”), a specialty pharmaceutical company with a focus on developing, advancing and promoting differentiated products, is pleased to announce that a major health authority in British Columbia recently announced a change to their dispensing formulary for tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive drug that is used to prevent organ rejection after transplantation. As of November 4, 2019, the health authority mandated that Sandoz tacrolimus, co-promoted by Aequus, is to be dispensed for all new patients requiring tacrolimus for prophylaxis of organ rejection in the province of British Columbia. Aequus receives a revenue share of the product from its partner, Sandoz.
“Aequus and Sandoz have worked tirelessly over the past few years to introduce Sandoz tacrolimus to patients in British Columbia,” said Ian Ball, CCO of Aequus. “This recent announcement marks a watershed moment for the province, providing long-term cost savings to both the province and patients that will require this treatment for the rest of their lives.”
From 2011-2018, British Columbia conducted 2,750 heart, kidney, or liver transplantations – with 440 transplantations performed in 2018 alone. As of 2018, 4,870 people living with an organ transplantation resided in British Columbia, representing roughly 20% of transplant patients in Canada.
“This is great news from our home province,” said Doug Janzen, CEO of Aequus. “Our commercial and market access teams have worked hard to provide the province with an alternative to the branded product, Prograf, which currently sells roughly $20M in product annually in British Columbia. This access will provide an added boost to our already impressive performance of growing Sandoz tacrolimus revenues across Canada and is the second piece of positive reimbursement news that Aequus has had regarding its growing product portfolio so far in 2020.”
Tacrolimus immediate release is an immunosuppressant used for the treatment and prevention of acute rejection following organ transplantation. Tacrolimus is part of a patient’s immunosuppressive therapy prescribed chronically in their lifelong management to prevent graft rejection. Tacrolimus is recommended as a first line calcineurin inhibitor treatment by the BC Transplant consensus guidelines and is prescribed in >90% of new kidney transplant patients (OPTN/SRTR 2014). Due to the chronic risk of graft rejection, tacrolimus has been classified as a Critical Dose Drug with a Narrow Therapeutic Index. In Canada, tacrolimus is available in an immediate release form, marketed under the brand name of Prograf® in Canada, and in an extended-release form, marketed under the brand name of Advagraf® in Canada. Aequus is promoting the first to market and only currently available generic version of Prograf®.