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Zogenix, Astellas end co-promotion agreement early
SAN DIEGO—Pharmaceutical company Zogenix, Inc., which commercializes and develops products for the treatment of central nervous system disorders and pain, recently announced the end of the co-promotion of SUMAVEL DosePro Needle-free Delivery System with along with Astellas Pharma US, Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. The co-promotion will end on March 31, 2012, and as of the second quarter of 2012, Zogenix will assume full responsibility for continued commercialization on the brand and will no longer pay service fees to Astellas. The company is evaluating potential co-promotion partners who could complement the efforts of its sales force. Neither Zogenix nor Astellas will face any penalty payments related to the early termination of the agreement, which was originally set to expire June 30, 2013. Astellas will continue to contribute its agreed upon portion of marketing expenses through March 31, 2012, and will continue earning a service fee based on product sales to its physician segment throughout that time period.
"The conclusion of our co-promotion agreement with Astellas starting in the second quarter will lower expenses as a result of the elimination of the service fee," Roger Hawley, chief executive officer of Zogenix, said in a press release. "We are evaluating a number of potential pharmaceutical company partners who have expressed interest in promoting SUMAVEL DosePro within their prescriber audiences. Alternatively, we will explore a modest expansion of our sales force. We expect to provide an update on these activities by the end of the first quarter."
The SUMAVEL DosePro system was launched with Astellas, in January 2010 as an acute treatment for migraine and cluster headache in the United States. Zogenix focused primarily on marketing to the neurology market, while Astellas focused primarily on primary care physicians.
Zogenix expects minimal impact on brand cash flow next year, given the current sales trends. In Q3 2011, the company generated 63 percent of SUMAVEL DosePro unit demand from specialists within its segment. They are still meeting expectations for the brand, as the prescription refill rate held at 38 percent in the third quarter, and total prescriptions increased 16 percent in the first ten weeks of Q4 over the first ten weeks of Q3.
"Beginning in January the recently expanded Zogenix sales force…will start transitioning all of the highest prescribers of SUMAVEL into primary care segment," said Hawley in a conference call. "We will also work with Astellas to create a detailed customer transition plan by February 1 with the goal of uninterrupted access and service to prescribers within the Astellas segment. We believe we can achieve our goals to accelerate the growth of the brand with minimal disruption to the existing primary care prescribers."
Hawley added that in 2012, the company will "leverage our strong relationships with our neurologists and headache specialists to create more brand awareness among prim care physicians," and believes that the agreement amendment "provides us with the best opportunity to accelerate adoption of SUMAVEL DosePro."
"Our long- term goal with SUMAVEL DosePro is unchanged," said Hawley in a press release. "The unmet patient need is significant. We have a clear objective to get more physicians to treat the varying intensity of the attacks with the right form of triptan therapy and focus on pain-free outcomes as the acute treatment goal."