Pharmaceutical company expands

  • 29/02/2016

By Fiona Rotherham

AFT Pharmaceuticals has reached agreement with privately-owned Swiss headquartered multinational pharmaceutical company Acino Pharma AG to out-license the Auckland drug-maker's main product, the patented combination painkiller Maxigesic to a further 69 countries. The shares rose.

The agreement is to sell all oral dose forms of Maxigesic and Maxigesic 1V in four geographic regions - Saudi Arabia and Yemen, Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, and North Africa and Levant.

AFT markets more than 100 pharmaceutical products for retail, prescription and hospital use with all the drugs made by third-party manufacturers.

The shares rose 5.3 per cent to $2.58, still down from last year's initial public offering price of $2.80.

Founding managing director Hartley Atkinson said this type of deal with Acino was foreshadowed in its product disclosure statement as part of its $35.6 million IPO and dual listing on the NZX and ASX late last year.

"Out-licensing of our key innovative products, like Maxigesic, forms the backbone of our company growth plans," he said.

The product disclosure statement indicated AFT Pharmaceuticals hopes to sell Maxigesic in 100 countries but Atkinson said the Acino deal shows that doesn't mean it has to set up its own costly infrastructure in each region to do so.

"Rather, we can partner with established companies, like Acino, who know their respective markets and already have an established brand there," he said.

In December AFT Pharmaceuticals reported a net loss loss of $6.37 million for the six months ended Sept. 30, down 4.2 per cent on a year earlier after incurring $1m in listing expenses. The IPO prospectus didn't provide any estimates of future financial performance, though the company had revenue of $56.4m in the 2015 financial year and posted a net loss of $12.9m.

A clinical trial is due to begin in the US next month on Maxigesic as the company seeks Food and Drug Administration approval to sell into that country.