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Pozen, Inc. (POZN) Takes Another Step To No Longer Being A Drug Developer; Shrinks Workforce

8/22/2014 6:22:49 AM

Pozen, Inc. Takes Another Step To No Longer Being A Drug Developer; Shrinks Workforce Pozen, Inc. Takes Another Step To No Longer Being A Drug Developer; Shrinks Workforce

August 22, 2014

By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Pozen, Inc. (POZN) , a small pharmaceutical company located in Chapel Hill, NC, recently announced that that they are shifting their focus from R&D to licensing and distribution. As a result of this shift, the company plans to reduce its research and development staff. Currently employing 30 individuals, it plans to reduce that number to 15, mostly in R&D, with further cuts pending.

The company has brought two products to market, Treximet®, treatment for migraines, and Vimovo®, medication for arthritis. Pozen partnered with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for Treximet and with AstraZeneca for Vimovo. Recently GSK sold the rights to Treximet to Pernix Therapeutics Holdings for $250 million. It is believed that this deal was made on the part of GSK to narrow its business focus, especially directing more energies toward vaccines. In a similar deal, AstraZeneca sold the rights to Vimovo to Horizon Pharma for $40 million upfront and $7.5 million annually afterward.
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Pozen has a development deal with Sanofi for a GI-safer version of aspirin dubbed the PA product platform, with two candidates, PA8140 and PA32540. They have completed two pivotal Phase III trials and signed an exclusive license agreement with Sanofi in September 2013, which will give Sanofi US the exclusive rights to commercialize the PA combinations that contain 325 mg or less of enteric-coated aspirin in the U.S.

In a statement, Pozen’s CFO, Bill Hodges, said, “Our goal is to develop as many cash-flow streams into Pozen as we can and reduce our expenses by cutting development.”

Pozen’s six-month revenue for 2014 was $14.967 million, up dramatically from $3.066 million in the same period in 2013. Operating expenses were also down from $12.9 million in the first six months of 2013 to $9.1 million in 2014. Royalty revenue from Vimovo for the second quarter was $5.4 million, up $0.9 million from Q1 2014 and $3.8 million over Q2 of 2013.

In a press release, Pozen indicated their 2014 Strategic Direction was to obtain FDA approval for PA8140/PA32540, transition “all licensed know-how relating to PA in the United States and fulfilling all contractual obligations to Sanofi US.” They also indicated they intended to complete the Phase 1 pharmacodynamics study of PA10040-102, prepare regulatory submissions for PA products in the European Union and were looking for partners for the PA and Treximet assets outside the U.S.

Pozen stated, “We have made the strategic decision to not start new development programs that are not fully funded by a partner. As a result, we have reduced our staff to fifteen employees and plan to make future reductions. Our board of directors and management team continue to explore potential ways to return value to our stockholders, including future cash distributions when we accumulate surplus cash as a result of receiving milestones and royalties from our commercial partners.”

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