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NewBridge Pharmaceuticals Signs Agreement for Abstral™ for the Middle East and Africa

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- NewBridge Pharmaceuticals announced that it has signed an exclusive licensing and distribution agreement with Orexo AB (STO: ORX) that grants NewBridge rights to seek approval for Abstral™, Orexo's product for treatment of breakthrough cancer pain, in the Middle East and Africa and, where approval is granted, to market and sell the product in these territories.  The agreement covers 64 countries across the Middle East and Africa, and excludes Israel where the product is already partnered.

Under the terms of the agreement, Orexo will supply NewBridge with Abstral™ product. The agreement includes milestone and revenue sharing payments; the detailed financial terms are not being disclosed.  NewBridge will also be responsible for managing the regulatory approval process and commercialisation in each of the relevant countries.

Key Points

  • Abstral is a rapidly-disintegrating tablet for sublingual (under the tongue) administration of fentanyl intended for the management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients who are already receiving opioid analgesics for their underlying persistent cancer pain.
  • Abstral was launched in the principal European markets during the course of 2009 and generated sales of 7.4m pounds Sterling in the first six months of 2010 in Europe.
  • Abstral achieved a 24% market share by tablet volume of short-acting fentanyl products in the top five European markets (Source: IMS data, June 2010)
  • Abstral is awaiting a decision from the United States Food & Drug Administration in respect of its approval in the US.

Joe Henein, President and CEO of NewBridge

"Abstral™ is a valuable addition to enhance our growing oncology portfolio.  Across our core geographic region there are many markets with strong economic growth and increased demand for improved health care and more effective products. We strongly believe that Abstral™ has a great potential in the territory and will contribute significantly to physicians' abilities to treat patients experiencing breakthrough cancer pain, hence improving quality of life for these patients."

Torbjorn Bjerke President and CEO of Orexo

"This agreement with NewBridge will enable sales of Abstral™ in additional geographic territories and is another step in developing Abstral™ into a global brand. Our partnership with NewBridge will allow Abstral™ to be available for thousand of doctors to help them manage patients suffering breakthrough cancer pain."

About Abstral™

Abstral™ is a fast-dissolving tablet for sub-lingual administration of fentanyl, intended for the management of breakthrough cancer pain in patients who are already receiving opioid analgesics. It is based on Orexo's unique and patented sublingual tablet technology in which a rapidly dissolving tablet is placed under the tongue and the active substance is absorbed by the mucous membrane. Currently Abstral™ is sold in fourteen countries in Europe, and reached sales of 7.4 M pounds in the first half of 2010.

About Breakthrough Cancer Pain

Breakthrough pain ("BTP") is an acute and often severe flare of pain experienced by patients suffering from cancer that occurs even though a person may be taking opioid pain relief medicine regularly for their persistent pain. It is known as breakthrough pain because it is pain that "breaks through" a regular pain medicine schedule. It may be caused by the cancer itself or it may be related to cancer treatment. For some people, breakthrough pain occurs during certain everyday activities, such as walking or dressing. For others, it occurs unexpectedly without any apparent cause.

Between 64% and 89% of patients with cancer experience BTP, and they average 4 to 7 episodes per day.  In a recent survey of patients with cancer BTP:

  • 89% stated that BTP negatively affected their quality of life
  • 73% stated that BTP wakes them from a deep sleep at least once a month
  • 76% stated that BTP affects their ability to perform everyday household chores
  • 75% stated that BTP is one of the most challenging effects of having cancer
  • 35% stated that BTP affects their relationships with their family members
  • 82% stated that BTP negatively affects their emotional health

The American Pain Foundation. Breakthrough Cancer Pain Survey Fact Sheet.

Available at:

About NewBridge Pharmaceuticals

NewBridge Pharmaceuticals is a specialty pharmaceutical, biologics, diagnostics and medical device company serving the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and Caspian regions (collectively, AfMET) to address the unmet needs of diseases with high regional prevalence such as diabetes, obesity, oncology, cardiovascular diseases and other metabolic disorders. NewBridge in-licenses and commercializes FDA and EMA approved therapeutics and devices. Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates with Business Development Capabilities in the US, NewBridge was founded by Burrill & Company, a San Francisco-based Life Science Venture Capital, Private Equity, Merchant Banking and Media firm.  NewBridge Pharmaceuticals is uniquely positioned to be the partner of choice for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, molecular diagnostic and medical device companies seeking to create value for their products in these high growth emerging markets. NewBridge was advised on this Transaction by Burrill Merchant Bank, LLC.

More information can be found at

About Orexo

Orexo is a pharmaceutical company focusing on developing treatments for pain and inflammation. Orexo is developing proprietary products based on its proven reformulation technologies, targeted at the Specialty Pharmaceutical market. Orexo intends to commercialise some of these products itself in one or more major markets. Its development activity builds on Orexo's core competences in R&D, which have previously resulted in several successful products, currently out-licensed through worldwide partnership agreements to larger pharmaceutical companies.

Today, Orexo has four products on the market of which Abstral™ is a leading brand for the treatment of breakthrough pain in cancer patients in most of Europe. Orexo also has three significant partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies for research and development programs: discovery stage collaborations with Ortho-McNeil Janssen and Janssen Pharmaceutica in respiratory inflammation and with Boehringer Ingelheim for pain, both within the arachidonic acid cascade and a clinical stage development agreement with Novartis in gastrointestinal disorders. Orexo's head office is located in Uppsala, Sweden.

More information can be found at

SOURCE NewBridge Pharmaceuticals
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