Apricus expands development pipeline with in-licensing of US rights for fispemifene

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on October 25th, 2018
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Published 21 October 2014

Apricus Biosciences has licensed the U.S. development and commercialization rights for a novel selective estrogen receptor modulator ("SERM"), fispemifene, an investigational treatment for urological conditions in men, from Forendo Pharma, a private therapeutics company based in Finland.

This license agreement combines Apricus' expertise in men's health with Forendo's established leadership in SERM drug discovery, to advance the development of fispemifene as an investigational treatment for urological conditions in men.

Fispemifene is an oral once-daily, new chemical entity SERM, with a unique profile that is ideally suited for use in men. Fispemifene is a tissue-specific SERM designed to treat secondary hypogonadism, chronic prostatitis and lower urinary tract symptoms in men.

Two successful U.S.-based Phase 2 trials have demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept for the treatment of male secondary hypogonadism, without exhibiting the negative effects on prostate health often associated with testosterone replacement therapies.

Apricus anticipates commencing a Phase 2b clinical trial during the first half of 2015 to confirm the optimal fispemifene doses to treat men with secondary hypogonadism, while assessing improvements in symptoms commonly associated with low serum testosterone levels, as well as lower urinary tract symptoms in aging men.

Apricus Chief Executive Office, Richard Pascoe, commented, "The in-licensing of fispemifene in the U.S. is a transformative event for Apricus. It marks the achievement of a primary corporate objective of diversifying our pipeline with a complementary drug candidate targeting multiple indications in urology, while building upon the clinical and commercial success of Vitaros, our marketed drug for erectile dysfunction. Importantly, Apricus has funded this major step using an attractive combination of equity, valued at a premium to our current stock price, and venture debt with a four-year term."

Mr. Pascoe continued, "Fispemifene's product profile offers an exciting next-generation treatment option for men suffering from urological conditions such as secondary hypogonadism, in an existing multi-billion dollar market. Moreover, with new chemical entity exclusivity and a patent estate extending to 2028 and beyond, we believe that fispemifene should deliver long-term value for all shareholders through future clinical development and commercial success."

Risto Lammintausta, Chief Executive Officer, Forendo Pharma, stated, "Having previously developed and partnered two SERMS that are approved and marketed in the U.S., we are excited to work with the Apricus team, which has a demonstrated track record of innovation within men's health and a strategy committed to addressing the unmet needs of these patients. Fispemifene, a unique SERM targeted for use in men, will offer both patients and physicians a differentiated alternative for treating urological conditions in aging men. As a partner and now a major shareholder, we look forward to the progress of Apricus' portfolio of biopharmaceutical programs, including the advancement of fispemifene in U.S. clinical trials."

Under the terms of the agreement, Forendo and its advisors received an upfront license fee of $12.5 million comprised of a $5 million cash payment and the issuance of $7.5 million in Apricus common stock (approximately 3.6 million shares priced at the 360-day average market price of $2.08 per share).

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Apricus expands development pipeline with in-licensing of US rights for fispemifene

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