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infirst HEALTHCARE Established to Launch Novel Consumer Medicines

LONDON, July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Cocoa-flavoured cough medicine will be first product to market

A consumer healthcare company, infirst HEALTHCARE, has today been established to launch and commercialise new, fast-to-market consumer medicines which bring a novel approach to a market where there has been little new innovation in decades. The new medicines utilize infirst's intellectual property to improve safe and well-established drugs and the first products will be launched in the indications of cough & cold and pain. These two indications represent the most prevalent health conditions and the two largest segments of the global OTC market.

infirst HEALTHCARE will be led by Manfred Scheske, who was previously President of GlaxoSmithKline's USD 3 billion European Consumer Healthcare business. The new company has already signed a licence agreement with a key strategic partner in the US, for which it has received a USD 5 million upfront payment, with further near term milestones and royalties to be earned from product sales. infirst HEALTHCARE is a spin-out of the UK drug discovery group, SEEK.

infirst HEALTHCARE's most advanced product in development is a cocoa-flavoured medicine for the treatment of cough & cold, which is expected to be launched in time for the winter flu season in Q4 2013 by infirst's partner in the US and thereafter by infirst itself in Europe. Next in line behind the cough medicine is an ibuprofen-based, healthy plant oil infused product for the treatment of inflammatory pain.

Cough affects over 800 million patients worldwide, with an estimated 12% of the general population (7.5 million in the UK), experiencing the symptoms on a regular basis. Market surveys of the cough & cold market conducted by infirst HEALTHCARE have indicated that there is huge demand for a natural, flavoursome product (cocoa) which can be combined with a medicinal product (cough liquid) to provide a more pleasant and comforting experience for the patient.

In addition to its cough & cold and pain products, infirst HEALTHCARE is developing a broad portfolio of improved and fast-to-market drugs (adding natural ingredients to safe and well-established drugs). These medicines have a rapid regulatory path to market as their indication, dose, regime and label remain unchanged.

The marketing strategy to be employed by infirst HEALTHCARE will be similar to that used by some of the largest consumer health brands such as Sensodyne® and Tylenol®.  These brands were built on the endorsement of healthcare professionals and on effective symptom relief, leading to patient preference (PEPP - professionally endorsed, patient preferred.)

Commenting on today's announcement, Manfred Scheske, CEO of infirst HEALTHCARE, said:

"We have talked to many healthcare practitioners who have confirmed the need for new, improved options for the treatment of cough and pain that are safe and cost-effective. Feedback from consumer research has also overwhelmingly confirmed the need for new products that have natural ingredients, such as cocoa, that can be combined with existing safe medicines to deliver an enhanced outcome for the patient. infirst HEALTHCARE's products will bring novel solutions to the most prevalent conditions such as cough and pain and I am very excited that we are in a position to deliver these products to consumer healthcare markets around the world."

Commenting on today's announcement, Gregory Stoloff, CEO of SEEK group, infirst HEALTHCARE's  parent company, said:

"With ageing populations and stressed healthcare budgets, markets everywhere are in need of safe and affordable and fast-to-market medicines which can deliver a better outcome for patients. infirst HEALTHCARE's new approach to well-known medicines will meet this market need. Manfred Scheske's background, with multi-geographical experience and his long and impressive track record including leadership of GlaxoSmithKline's consumer healthcare businesses in Europe and the US, makes him an ideal CEO for this new enterprise."

About infirst HEALTHCARE 

infirst HEALTHCARE is a new consumer healthcare company focused on improving well established  drugs with IP protected solutions for the OTC/Primary care market which can be launched within 12-36 months. infirst HEALTHCARE is a spin-out from SEEK, a UK privately-owned drug discovery group which uses its intellectual property to create breakthrough medicines addressing major diseases, bringing radical improvements to human health.

About Manfred Scheske

Manfred Scheske joined the Executive Team of SEEK in October 2010. At SEEK he was responsible for SEEK's small molecule portfolio, now incorporated in infirst HEALTHCARE, and became CEO of infirst on its formation in 2012.

Prior to joining SEEK, Manfred was President of GSK's USD 3 billion European Consumer Healthcare business (including brands such as alli, Aquafresh, Beechams, Corsodyl, Lucozade, Niquitin, Panadol. Piriton, Poligrip, Ribena, Sensodyne, Solpadeine, Zantac and Zovirax) from 2004 to 2010 and also spent six years as President of GSK's Consumer Healthcare business in North America.

About SEEK

Founded in 2004, SEEK (previously known as PepTcell) is privately-owned and funded, with headquarters in London, UK. Using a pioneering scientific and commercially-driven approach, SEEK aims to create breakthrough medicines which address major diseases in order to radically improve human health. SEEK's strategy is to take promising molecules through the challenging stages of discovery to late-stage human proof-of-principle and then to seek partners to take the molecules through the final stages of development and ultimately commercialisation.

Additional information about SEEK and infirst HEALTHCARE is available on the Company's website located at

About Cough

More common than heartburn and severe headaches, cough imposes a great burden on the sufferer, their families, and society. Afflicting over 800 million worldwide, with an estimated 12% of the general population (7.5 million in the UK), experiencing the symptom on a regular basis. In the USA forty million households turn to OTC medicines each year to relieve their cough symptoms. Cough leads patients to use "over the counter" remedies as first-line treatments, where annual sales in the USA exceed $2 billion dollars.  

For more information please contact:

Manfred Scheske, CEO, infirst HEALTHCARE, Tel +44(0)20-7153-6570

M:Communications, Mary Clark / Amber Bielecka / Hollie Vile, Tel +44(0)20-7920-2330,

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