Acasti Pharma Develops Cardiovascular Pharmaceutical Products for the Over-The-Counter, the Medical Food and the Prescription Drug Markets
LAVAL, Quebec--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (“Neptune”) (NASDAQ:NEPT) (TSX VENTURE:NTB) announces the formation of an operating pharmaceutical subsidiary named Acasti Pharma Inc. Neptune structured part of its pharmaceutical operations into its subsidiary Acasti Pharma to carry out the research, development and commercialization of active pharmaceutical ingredients (“API”) for chronic cardiovascular disease. According to its business strategy, Acasti Pharma will pursue negotiations with the objective to enter strategic pharmaceutical alliances.
During the last fiscal year, Neptune has advanced its internal pharmaceutical operations to a point requiring important structural decisions within the organization. In order to further advance the cardiovascular pharmaceutical program, Neptune has now granted to Acasti Pharma a license to rights of its intellectual property portfolio related to cardiovascular applications. The transfer of this license allows Acasti Pharma to exploit intellectual property rights in order to develop novel active pharmaceutical ingredients into commercial products for three pharmaceutical markets, namely the over-the-counter (OTC), the medical food (MF) and the prescription drug (Rx) market.
The license was transferred to the pharmaceutical subsidiary in the exchange of 25 million category C shares, 5 million multi-voting category B shares, and 8 million warrants expiring on July 31, 2010 for an aggregate value of $9 million. Acasti Pharma will pay royalties to Neptune from licensed product sales in the cardiovascular field with a minimum annual royalty payment for each of the three pharmaceutical markets. Neptune ascribed a fraction of its warrants held in its subsidiary to employees, officers and administrators. Acasti Pharma is responsible for carrying out the research and development of the APIs, as well as required regulatory submissions and approvals and intellectual property filings with regards to cardiovascular applications. Acasti Pharma is preparing an investigational new drug application (IND) with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and a clinical trial application (CTA) with Health Canada.
Acasti Pharma is leveraging the intellectual property, clinical data and know how gained by Neptune during the last ten years by advancing a portfolio of proprietary novel omega-3 phospholipids through the pharmaceutical development pathway for prescription medical food, over-the-counter and prescription drug applications. Neptune has already demonstrated through clinical trials that Neptune Krill Oil (NKO®), a patented composition containing proprietary novel omega-3 phospholipids, can reduce LDL -bad cholesterol- levels and can raise HDL -good cholesterol- levels. These clinical results with pilot precursors offer a great degree of comfort and reassurance of the effectiveness and proof of concept of Acasti Pharma API’s. Neptune is continuing the development of all its other pharmaceutical applications, including cognitive diseases development.
About Acasti Pharma
Acasti Pharma is currently wholly owned by Neptune and is governed by the Board of Directors of Neptune. Its head office is located at the same address as Neptune at 225 Promenade du Centropolis, Suite 200, Laval, Québec, Canada H7T 3B3.
Acasti Pharma will be managed by the present Chief Scientific Officer of Neptune, Tina Sampalis B.Sc., M.D., Ph.D. as President, supported by Bruno Battistini B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. as Senior Director of Pharmaceutical R&D and Wael Massrieh B.Sc., Ph.D. as, Director of R&D. Dr. Battistini conducted his postdoctoral studies at William Harvey Research Institute, London, UK with Sir J. Vane, FRS, Nobel Laureate; UBC-St.Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver and Sherbrooke University. He has led as VP, R&D and CSO IND-enabling preclinical studies successfully reaching phase I trial in less then three years. Dr. Wael Massrieh joined Neptune in October 2007 after working as Director of R&D at Biomechanics. He completed his studies at McGill University in Montreal. The President and CEO of Neptune, Mr. Henri Harland B.Sc., M.B.A., will lead the Acasti Pharma management team as Chief Executive Officer. The business, finance and administration teams of Neptune along with its technical and laboratory facilities and personnel will support Acasti Pharma’s operations and technological requirements.
Acasti Pharma’s Scientific Advisory Board is comprised of Steven E. Nissen M.D. MACC, Chairman, Cleveland Clinic, Cardiovascular Medicine, & Past President, American College of Cardiology, Magdy M. Abdel-Malik Ph.D., Former Global External Opportunities, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, NJ and Thomas G. Hartman Ph.D., Mass Spectrometry Lab Manager at Rutgers University Center for Advanced Food Technology. Two additional Scientific Advisory Board members will be appointed in the future.
Acasti Pharma’s product portfolio of proprietary novel long-chain omega-3 phospholipids are sourced from sustainable abundant marine biomass including Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba). Phospholipids are the major component of cell membranes and are essential for all vital cell processes. They are one of the principal constituents of High Density Lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and play, as such, an important role in modulating cholesterol efflux. Acasti Pharma’s proprietary novel phospholipids carry and functionalize the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been shown to have substantial health benefits, and which are stabilized by potent antioxidants. Acasti is focusing initially on treatments for chronic cardiovascular conditions.
Neptune researches and develops proprietary bioactive ingredients and products for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications and is carrying out clinical research to show the therapeutic benefits in various medical indications. The Company patents and protects its innovations and continuously expands its intellectual property portfolio. Neptune has already obtained many regulatory approvals allowing commercialization of its products in various geographic markets and has filed for and is expecting additional approvals. Neptune continues to strongly support its strategic development plan to form partnerships with worldwide leaders in the nutraceutical industries. Neptune signed agreements with Nestlé and Yoplait, worldwide leading food manufacturers, and paved its entrance into the global functional food market.
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Statements in this press release that are not statements of historical or current fact constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and Canadian securities laws. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other unknown factors that could cause the actual results of the Company to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. In addition to statements which explicitly describe such risks and uncertainties, readers are urged to consider statements labeled with the terms "believes," "belief," "expects," "intends," "anticipates," "will," or "plans" to be uncertain and forward-looking. The forward-looking statements contained herein are also subject generally to other risks and uncertainties that are described from time to time in the Company's reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Canadian securities commissions.
Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc.
Acasti Pharma Inc.
Toni Rinow, Ph.D., MBA
Corporate Development & Investor Relations