Oramed Pharmaceuticals announced last week that the company received $5 million through a stock sale and agreement with Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical, which purchased 696,378 restricted shares of Oramed stock at $7.18 per share.
Oramed will use the funds on its U.S.-focused clinical development programs for its oral insulin for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes indications, it said, as well as on preclinical and clinical studies of its GLP-1 analog project and for other general purposes.
|Oramed COO Josh Hexter|
Established in 2006, Oramed is a technology pioneer in oral delivery for drugs currently delivered via injection. The investment gives Oramed a cash position north of $20 million, which will allow the company to carry development activities over at least two years, COO Josh Hexter wrote in an email to FierceDrugDelivery.
Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Guangxi Wuzhou Zongheng Group, a Chinese investment holdings company traded on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The parent company focuses on pharmaceuticals, health and food products, while Guangxi Wuzhou Pharmaceutical Group is the largest pharmaceutical company in Guangxi, and among the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in China.
"China is a huge opportunity for any diabetes therapy and especially an oral insulin," Hexter wrote. The COO added that the diabetes market there is approximately $3 billion annually and expected to grow at between 15% and 20% per year. "It's also a market which requires local 'know how' to enter successfully. Our interactions with Wuzhou as a shareholder to date have been fruitful and they are open to acting as a partner in helping with entry into this market. Discussion are still at an early stage."
"We are pleased to have Wuzhou as a new shareholder," noted Nadav Kidron, chief executive officer of Oramed, in a statement. "China offers a substantial market opportunity for our diabetes focused pipeline and we are delighted to have Wuzhou as a supportive shareholder, as they can help strategically guide our development and commercial entrance into China."
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