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The Chiesi Group Lands in the United States

PARMA, Italy, May 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Parma Group has reacquired the marketing rights to its own drug Curosurf and is laying the groundwork to acquire control of the American pharmaceutical company Cornerstone; it will be setting up its twenty-third associated company in the world's largest pharmaceuticals market. This presence in the USA will prepare the way for future synergies and new projects in the area of respiratory illnesses.

The Chiesi Group has completed two agreements with two U.S. pharmaceutical companies, under which it is starting to create its own marketing presence in the US market.

The contract signed with Dey Mylan calls for Chiesi, in the coming months, to take over the rights to market Curosurf in the U.S. market; Curosurf is the world's leading drug for treating respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies.

The contract signed with Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc.(NASDAQ CM: CRTX) calls for acquiring control over the Cary (North Carolina) company and integrating into its staff the sales reps who are now promoting Curosurf in the community of American neonatologists.

The result of the two agreements paves the way for consolidating Chiesi's marketing presence in the USA, where the Group is already present with a clinical research unit in Rockville (Maryland).

"The possibility of bringing sales of Curosurf in the U.S.A. back to Chiesi, together with the opportunity of acquiring control over Cornerstone, will allow us in the coming months to establish a new associated company in the U.S.A, which is by far the largest and most advanced pharmaceuticals market in the world," commented Alberto Chiesi, the Group's chairman and CEO.

The inclusion of the entire sales team already working on Curosurf into the organisational and marketing structure of Cornerstone makes us confident of further growth for our drug in the U.S.A., where it is already a market leader.

The availability of a solid commercial base in this country will, in future, allow us to create synergies and new sales outlets for some of the projects we are developing in the respiratory area."

"This agreement means a major transformation for Cornerstone, giving us a new respiratory drug, major capital, and the possibility of accessing future products," affirmed Craig Collard, chairman and CEO of Cornerstone.

Curosurf is an excellent product with a leadership position in the market, a solid intellectual property situation, and an excellent growth potential. In addition, Chiesi's strategic investment brings 15.8 million dollars to our coffers, a significant injection of cash that can be used to continue to develop our products in the pipeline, to strengthen our marketing network and to further improve our position in the respiratory market.

Furthermore, this additional capital puts us in a favourable position to evaluate and consolidate the opportunities for acquiring high-quality respiratory products under license. Finally, the agreement allows us to work in close contact with Chiesi, one of the most respected and successful European pharmaceutical firms.

Chiesi Profile

Founded in 1935 in Parma, in 2008 the Chiesi Group turned over 748 million Euros, posting a +14.3%, almost three times the average growth for the European market. Active primarily in the area of respiratory therapeutics and rare diseases, the Group has 22 associated companies worldwide and is present in more than 50 countries with its drugs, produced at its facilities in Parma, Blois (France) and Santana de Parnaiba (Brazil).

In 2008 investments in R&D were 108 million Euros, equal to 14.4% of revenues, bringing us close to the target of 15% that the company intends to reach and maintain in the next few years. To the three research centres in Parma, Paris and Rockville (USA), in 2008 the company added Chippenham (UK) which has set itself the objective of innovating in the field of pressurised aerosols.

There are 3,243 people working for Chiesi, of whom more than 300 are employed in research. Last year, the Group's work force grew by 10%, with new hires mainly in Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe, Russia, Greece and in the new subsidiaries in the Netherlands, Turkey and China.

Cornerstone Profile

Cornerstone Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ CM: CRTX), headquartered in Cary, N.C., is a pharmaceutical company focusing on the acquisition, development and marketing of prescription drugs for the respiratory therapeutics area. The company, which in 2008 had revenues of 64.9 million dollars, a 131% increase over 2007, is currently promoting non-proprietary drugs in the United States; it has its own marketing network selling to specialists in respiratory illnesses and the main pharmacies. In addition, Cornerstone, which in 2008 invested about 3.8 million dollars in R&D, has a pipeline of molecules in the advanced clinical phase; thanks to these, it plans to submit some new products to the registration procedure in the next three years. Cornerstone's marketing strategy consists of increasing its market share for those products it is marketing through its own marketing and promotional skills, of acquiring new pharmaceutical products and of maximising the value of the products currently marketed, as soon as they are acquired, or of the drug candidates under development.

SOURCE Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A.
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