The Preferred Biotech Resource in Asia-Pacific
Vol 19, No 07, July 2015
Biotech in China
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Eye on China


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Pharma Sales
Mundipharma signs exclusive agreement with Helsinn Group for distribution of Anamorelin® across key markets in SEA

Mundipharma has entered a license agreement with Helsinn for the exclusive rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise Anamorelin®, a novel compound for the treatment of weight loss in cancer patients suffering from Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) across the ten markets of Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

Anamorelin® is a synthetic, orally active ghrelin receptor agonist that shows promise to treat cancer anorexia-cachexia in patients suffering from NSCLC. Attributed to about one-third of cancer deaths, cancer anorexia-cachexia syndrome (CACS) is a disorder that is mainly characterized by muscle atrophy and subsequent cancer induced weight loss (CIWL).

Studies have shown that there is a high correlation between CIWL and early deaths for cancer patients, with a significantly higher number of early deaths reported for patients who lost more than 5% of their body weight as compared to those who lost less than 5% of their body weight. It is estimated that over 50% of late-stage cancer patients suffer from cancer anorexia-cachexia and CIWL as a result. With no truly effective treatment available in the market today, products such as Anamorelin® will play a significant role in meeting the needs of this substantial number of patients.

"We are excited to further expand our partnership with Helsinn and supplement our portfolio of products for supportive care of patients with cancer," said Raman Singh, Regional Managing Director of Mundipharma Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. "This partnership will help us in our mission to alleviate the burden of pain for cancer patients in the key markets where we operate."

Anamorelin® is currently undergoing two phase III studies, ROMANA 1 and ROMANA 2, which are running in parallel, to evaluate the efficacy of the drug in the treatment of CACS. Both of these trials are expected to complete by the end of 1H 2014.

"This partnership is another step in what we foresee as a long and fruitful association with Mundipharma. We are confident that Anamorelin® will present an important advancement in the management of cancer anorexia-cachexia," said Dr Riccardo Braglia, CEO, Helsinn Group.

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