News

Elbion AG acquires late-stage product candidate from DrugAbuse Sciences

Date: 19/01/2007

Leuven, Belgium – Elbion AG Acquires Late-Stage Product Candidate From DrugAbuse Sciences, Inc. For Treatment Of Alcohol Dependence

Elbion NV, a leading European drug discovery and development company, today announced it has acquired a number of product candidates from the French biotechnology company DrugAbuse Sciences. The most advanced candidate, Naltrexone Depot, a sustained release formulation of naltrexone, will become elbion’s lead product and the company expects it to enter pivotal Phase III clinical trials in 2007. A second asset acquired is Buprenorphine Depot, a sustained release buprenorphine indicated for the treatment of opiate addiction.

The acquisition of the DrugAbuse Sciences candidates was made in return for a financial consideration comprising elbion shares. Full financial terms were not disclosed.

Naltrexone Depot is a novel, sustained release formulation of naltrexone, an antagonist that blocks receptors in the brain and is used in the treatment of opiate and alcohol abuse. Unlike conventional naltrexone dosage forms (i.e. daily tablets), Naltrexone Depot is designed as a simple once-a-month intramuscular injection which elbion believes will offer significant advantages in the treatment of alcoholism where patient treatment compliance is a major limiting factor.

Previous clinical trials with Naltrexone Depot have shown encouraging results with a trend towards greater levels of abstinence from alcohol for patients receiving treatment compared to those on placebo.

elbion intends to begin a pivotal Phase III trial in 2007 with an improved formulation of Naltrexone Depot. elbion is collaborating on formulation development work with Brookwood Pharmaceuticals, a US drug delivery company and acquired a licence to certain Brookwood technologies as part of the asset acquisition. Brookwood will supply the product for trials.

Bernd Kastler, CEO of elbion, said: “This agreement brings us another advanced clinical product to add to our pipeline and one which we believe can be a significant value driver for elbion. Alcohol dependence has a profound effect on the lives of millions of people around the world and we believe that Naltrexone Depot has the potential to play a major role in their treatment. We intend to initiate a well-designed Phase III programme with an improved formulation of the product, and then to commercialise Naltrexone Depot through our own sales and marketing operations in certain territories and through licensees in others.”

Patrick Langlois, Chairman of DrugAbuse Sciences said: “Today’s announcement of elbion’s acquisition of the Naltrexone Depot programme and other assets from DrugAbuse Sciences is good news for the future of what we believe is a very high value product. We are confident elbion’s clinical expertise and the plans they have put in place for the development and commercialisation of Naltrexone Depot will allow the full potential of the product to be realized and bring value to DrugAbuse Sciences investors through their holdings in elbion.”

Arthur J. Tipton, Ph.D., President and CEO, Brookwood Pharmaceuticals said: “Brookwood Pharmaceuticals strongly believes in the technical and market potential of the long-acting naltrexone under development at elbion. We have developed a positive relationship with the senior team at elbion and are enthused to be working with such a dynamic organization. We look forward to accelerating to market important products for the treatment of alcohol and opiate abuse.”

Buprenorphine depot is in pre-clinical development. elbion intends to develop the product for the treatment of opiate addiction.