Oxford Pharmascience, the Company that redevelops medicines to make them better, safer and easier to take, today announces that it has finalised commercial materials to allow the Company to enter partnering discussions for both its OXPzero™ Ibuprofen and OXPzero™ Naproxen assets.
The Company reported in November 2015 that it was in the final stages of completing preparation of these commercial discussion materials for the OXPzero™ Ibuprofen platform. This task has now been completed and, with further technical progress made in recent months across the wider platform, the Board is now pursuing opportunities for commercialisation of both its lead OXPzero™ Ibuprofen asset and OXPzero™ Naproxen. Ibuprofen and naproxen are the two dominant NSAID molecules in the pain relief and anti-inflammatory sector, with combined worldwide sales in excess of $5bn per annum.(1)
OXPzero™ NSAIDs have been demonstrated to deliver a range of key benefits that offer competitive advantage and meaningful differentiation. Specifically, by comparison with generic oral tablets, OXPzero™ NSAIDs:
- are milder in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, delivering major reduction in GI mucosal damage;
- completely mask the bitter taste/burn associated with NSAIDs; and
- deliver an attractive PK profile with adaptable drug release properties.
These characteristics enable multiple advantaged product applications across over-the-counter, pharmacist-only sales and prescription markets. The Company has identified major opportunities in:
- Pain: OXP believes that the GI mildness of the OXPzero™ products can be capitalised on in order to address the needs of patients exposed to higher risk of GI damage. For example, OXPzero™NSAIDs can be widely used in pain management for the over-60s as well as the treatment of chronic or severe pain in other age groups, with reduced GI risks;
- Cough and Cold: Ibuprofen has inherent advantages in efficacy and duration of effect versus paracetamol, however paracetamol dominates non-tablet forms of cough and cold remedies because of its GI mildness and taste advantages. OXPzero™ NSAID products enable superior, longer lasting, non-tablet forms versus paracetamol without the inferior GI profile or taste issues associated with standard ibuprofen; and
- Easy-to-take, non-tablet products: formulations of OXPzero™ products lend themselves to being taken 'on the move'. For example, the technology allows for high dose (200mg/5ml) suspension formulations which are not currently available due to the bitter taste/burn of Ibuprofen at that dose level.
As previously announced, the Company initiated contact in 2015 with a number of large, global pharmaceutical companies with strategic interest in the NSAIDs market. Since announcing completion of proof of concept for OXPzero™ Ibuprofen in November 2015, the Company has engaged consultants and advisers to support this important phase in its development. These include former senior management from major pharmaceutical companies which represent prospective strategic partners for licensing, high level regulatory support, as well as additional business development resource.
Under advice, the Company has now completed preparation of commercial discussion materials for these OXPzero™ assets and, with the recent US grant of one of its key patents, Oxford Pharmascience is ready to enter partnering discussions. There can be no certainty that these discussions will lead to a commercial deal in respect of any of the OXPzero™ assets, or as to the terms on which any such transaction might be agreed. The Company will not comment on speculation regarding these discussions or the terms of a potential transaction.
The Company will continue to work on the OXPzero™ NSAIDs programs as it enters commercial discussions, focused on enabling registration and approval of selected lead applications. The Company will also continue to advance the development of new programmes in to its pipeline in accordance with the strategy outlined at the time of attracting further funding in June 2015. Progress on this will be informed separately over the coming months.