Basel/Reinach, Switzerland, 14 April 2009 – Nitec Pharma AG (“Nitec” or “Nitec Pharma”), a Switzerland-based specialty pharma company focused on the development and commercialization of medicines to treat chronic inflammation and pain-related diseases, today announced that Lodotra® is being launched in Germany, the first market for this drug, by Merck KGaA who holds the exclusive distribution rights for Germany and Austria.
Lodotra®, Nitec’s single-pulse delayed-release tablet available on prescription, will be available in Germany as of 15 April 2009 for the treatment of RA and associated morning stiffness. As a result of innovative galenics the so-called night corticoid, taken at bed-time, releases the active ingredient, prednisone, in the middle of the night, when the morning stiffness is developing. Thus, the length of the morning stiffness, the core symptom of RA, can be reduced by half.
Dr. Anders Härfstrand, CEO of Nitec, comments: “We are very proud to launch Lodotra® in Germany following ten years of development and look forward to the roll-out across Europe during 2009. With Merck KGaA, who will market Lodotra® in Germany and Austria, and Mundipharma, our partner in the rest of Europe, we benefit from the support of strong partners with high competence in the treatment of RA.“
A new understanding of the human body’s circadian rhythms makes this innovation possible. The increased inflammation activity between 2am and 4am involves a higher level of interleukin-6 (“IL-6”) which is closely connected to morning stiffness. By lowering this raised IL-6 level with prednisone the stiffness of joints in the morning can be reduced significantly.
An estimated number of 800,000 people suffer from RA in Germany. Effective treatments of morning stiffness have been very limited, and the activities of daily life as well as working activities in the morning were limited. Reducing the morning stiffness by half significantly improves the quality of life of patients, and has a significant effect on the national economy.
About Nitec Pharma AG
Nitec Pharma is a Switzerland-based specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of innovative medicines and effective treatment solutions for chronic inflammation and pain-related diseases. Nitec’s most advanced product is Lodotra™, a circadian cytokine modulator (CCM) for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which has recently received a recommendation for European regulatory approval and is now launched in Germany. Nitec was originally founded in 2004 as a spin-out of Merck KGaA and is headquartered in Reinach in Switzerland. Nitec is financed by Atlas Venture, Global Life Science Ventures, NGN Capital, TVM Capital and a principal investment arm of Deutsche Bank AG, London. For further information about Nitec Pharma please visit www.nitecpharma.com