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Vifor Pharma and Hikma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Hikma) have entered into an agreement under which Hikma will market Ferinject®, Vifor Pharma’s innovative treatment for iron deficiency, in the Middle East and North African region (MENA). The agreement will leverage Hikma’s local presence, regional marketing and regulatory expertise, allowing Vifor Pharma to tap the potential of one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for iron deficiency products.
The two companies described the agreement – which covers Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen – as a “win-win” situation. Patients in these countries will gain rapid access to Ferinject®, an efficacious, well tolerated and convenient treatment for iron deficiency. Hikma, with over 1,600 sales and marketing staff in the region, will receive exclusive rights to market a product which complements its portfolio of prescription pharmaceuticals. Vifor Pharma, one of the world’s leaders for the treatment of iron deficiency, will see Ferinject® registered and brought to market far more quickly than otherwise possible.
“This collaboration is great news for Vifor Pharma. It is also very good news for all patients suffering from iron deficiency in the MENA region. These patients will soon have access to a new and much-needed therapeutic option,” said Dr. David Ebsworth, CEO of Vifor Pharma. “I am delighted that Hikma – a company with great expertise and standing – shares our view of the potential of Ferinject and has decided to contribute to the further success of the product.”
Said Darwazah, CEO of Hikma Pharmaceuticals, said: "Ferinject® has been demonstrated to have a powerful impact in the treatment of iron deficiency. This agreement enables us to bring another world class product to patients in the MENA region and we look forward to a long and successful collaboration with Vifor Pharma."
Political upheaval has made the MENA region a focal point for world attention recently, but it still remains a market with huge potential. The countries covered by the agreement have a combined population of some 295 million inhabitants and include a number of middle-income countries; the medium-term economic prospects for the region are good as purchasing power increases. The demand for high-quality and innovative pharmaceuticals such as Ferinject® is predicted to rise in the wake of economic liberalisation which will have a particularly positive impact on the pharmaceutical market, forecast to grow at an annualized rate of around 11% over the next 5 years.
Already registered in over 35 countries, Ferinject® offers patients, doctors and payers significant therapeutic and pharmaco-economic benefits over existing treatment options. Within the MENA region, the product has already received marketing authorisation for Lebanon ahead of schedule. Preparations for the regulatory submissions in the other countries are already underway and both companies are optimistic that, despite political uncertainty, Ferinject® will be registered and made available to patients within a foreseeable time-frame. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Ferinject® is an innovative intravenous iron replacement product discovered and developed by Vifor Pharma. Ferric carboxymaltose, the active pharmaceutical ingredient of Ferinject®, meets the unmet clinical need for an intravenous (i.v.) iron therapy that is not associated with dextran-induced hypersensitivity reactions with a low iron toxicity potential. Ferinject® can be administered in doses up to 1000mg iron in a 15-minute drip infusion or i.v. injection in patients with iron deficiency associated with a variety of clinical conditions.
To date, Ferinject® has gained marketing authorisation in 30 countries in Europe as well as in South Korea, Argentina, Russia, Australia and Lebanon, for the treatment of iron deficiency where oral iron is ineffective or cannot be used. In many countries, intravenous iron replacement products are primarily used to treat dialysis patients. However, iron deficiency is also a complication of many other illnesses. Vifor Pharma is evaluating new opportunities in the treatment of iron deficiency with Ferinject® in different therapeutic areas. Further trials with Ferinject® in chronic kidney disease (CKD), oncology (anaemia in cancer patients), cardiology (chronic heart failure), patient blood management and gynaecology are ongoing.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC is a fast growing multinational pharmaceutical group focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing a broad range of both branded and non-branded generic and in-licensed products. Hikma's operations are conducted through three businesses: "Branded", "Injectables" and "Generics" based principally in the Middle East and North Africa ("MENA") region, where it is a market leader, the United States and Europe. In 2010, Hikma achieved revenues of $731 million and profit attributable to shareholders of $99 million.
For more information about Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC please visit www.hikma.com.
Vifor Pharma, a company of the Galenica Group, is a world leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical products for the treatment of iron deficiency. The company also offers a diversified portfolio of prescription medicines as well as over-the-counter (OTC) products. Vifor Pharma, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, has an increasingly global presence and a broad network of affiliates and partners around the world.
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