AVANIR Announces Grant of New Zenvia Patent
Extends Period of Commercial Exclusivity in Europe into 2023
AVANIR Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVNR) today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted AVANIR a new patent, extending the period of commercial exclusivity for its lead drug candidate Zenvia™ (dextromethorphan/quinidine) into 2023.
EPO patent number 1.539.166 titled "Pharmaceutical Compositions Comprising Dextromethorphan and Quinidine for the Treatment of Neurological Disorders" will be published in the European Patent Bulletin on July 2, 2008 and will be effective on that date. The new European patent expands the available Zenvia dose ranges under prior patent protection and encompasses the Company's current clinical development programs in pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and diabetic peripheral neuropathic (DPN) pain, as well as other neurologic conditions.
"We are extremely pleased with the decision by the European Patent Office to grant this application. This patent provides a significantly longer period of commercial exclusivity for Zenvia in Europe, and adds to AVANIR's broad intellectual property portfolio," said Greg Flesher, Vice President of Business Development at AVANIR. "We have the corresponding patent application pending within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and based on the issuance of the European patent we are optimistic about receiving a similar response in the U.S. as well."
"The granting of a new European patent for Zenvia is another important milestone for AVANIR," said Keith Katkin, AVANIR's President and CEO. "Our entire team is working diligently to complete the Phase III clinical development of Zenvia for the PBA indication and prepare for our expected commercialization in the U.S. This new patent significantly extends the period of Zenvia commercial exclusivity throughout Europe and enhances the global potential of our primary asset."
Zenvia is a combination of two well-characterized compounds: the therapeutically active ingredient dextromethorphan and the enzyme inhibitor quinidine, which serves to increase the bioavailability of dextromethorphan. This first-in-class drug candidate is believed to help regulate excitatory neurotransmission in two ways: through pre-synaptic inhibition of glutamate release via sigma-1 receptor agonist activity and through postsynaptic glutamate response modulation via uncompetitive, low-affinity NMDA antagonist activity. Zenvia is currently in development for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and diabetic peripheral neuropathic (DPN) pain. In October 2006, the Company received an approvable letter for Zenvia in the treatment of PBA. The Company has initiated a confirmatory Phase III study under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) utilizing a new lower quinidine dose formulation of Zenvia intended to address safety concerns raised in the Agency's approvable letter for Zenvia in the treatment of PBA. For more information about this trial visit http://www.pbatrial.com/ and for more information about the Agency's SPA process see http://www.fda.gov/cder/guidance/3764fnl.htm. In April 2007, AVANIR announced successfully meeting all primary endpoints in a Phase III study of Zenvia in DPN pain. In May 2008, the Company released top-line results of a formal pharmacokinetic (PK) study that identified alternative lower-dose quinidine formulations of Zenvia for DPN pain intended to deliver similar efficacy and improved safety/tolerability versus the formulations previously tested for this indication.
AVANIR Pharmaceuticals is focused on acquiring, developing, and commercializing novel therapeutic products for the treatment of chronic diseases. AVANIR's products and product candidates address therapeutic markets that include the central nervous system, inflammation, and infectious diseases. AVANIR's lead product candidate, Zenvia, is being developed for the treatment of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) and is the subject of an approvable letter from the FDA for that indication. The Company has initiated a confirmatory Phase III study under a Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreement with the FDA utilizing a new lower quinidine dose formulation of Zenvia intended to address safety concerns raised in the Agency's approvable letter for Zenvia in the treatment of PBA. Additionally, in April 2007 AVANIR announced meeting all primary endpoints in a Phase III clinical trial with Zenvia in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathic (DPN) pain. In May 2008 the Company released top-line results of a formal pharmacokinetic (PK) study that identified alternative lower-dose quinidine formulations of Zenvia for DPN pain intended to deliver similar efficacy and improved safety/tolerability versus the formulations previously tested for this indication. AVANIR has licensed its MIF inhibitor program to Novartis International Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and has sold its anthrax monoclonal antibody program to Emergent BioSolutions. The Company's first commercialized product, Abreva®, is marketed in North America by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare and is the leading over-the-counter product for the treatment of cold sores. Further information about AVANIR can be found at http://www.avanir.com/.
Forward Looking Statements
Statements in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements that are preceded by, followed by, or that include such words as "estimate," "intend," "anticipate," "believe," "plan," "goal," "expect," or similar statements, are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the future results expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no assurance that any additional Phase III trial for Zenvia will be successful, that any new doses of Zenvia will be safe and effective, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will approve Zenvia for any indication or that the Company will be able to secure additional worldwide intellectual property protection for its Zenvia patent portfolio. There can be no assurances that Zenvia clinical development programs for indications other than pseudobulbar affect will move forward without additional capital or partnerships. There can also be no assurance that the proceeds from the Company's recently completed offering of common stock and warrants will be sufficient to fund our clinical trials to completion as expected or to fund operations through the expected timing of an approval decision from the FDA. Risks and uncertainties affecting the Company's financial condition and operations also include the risks set forth in AVANIR's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and from time-to-time in other publicly available information regarding the Company. Copies of this information are available from AVANIR upon request. AVANIR disclaims any intent to update these forward-looking statements.
To be included on AVANIR's e-mail alert list; click on the link below or visit AVANIR's website: http://www.b2i.us/irpass.asp?BzID=958&to=ea&s=0
AVANIR Investor Contacts
Eric Benevich or Brenna Mullen, 949-389-6700
Jun 19, 2008