BELLUS HEALTH AND THE AGAHAN GROUP ENTER INTO BROAD LICENSE FOR VIVIMIND™ IN THE MIDDLE EAST
LAVAL, QC, April 4 /CNW Telbec/ - BELLUS Health Inc. (TSX: BLU) ("BELLUS Health") announced today that it has signed an exclusive license and distribution agreement (the "Agreement") with Agahan Ayandeye Pars Inc. (the "Agahan Group") regarding BELLUS Health's VIVIMIND™, a patented natural health product that has been shown to protect memory function.
Pursuant to the Agreement, BELLUS Health is granting the Agahan Group exclusive distribution rights for VIVIMIND™ in Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Iran and certain other Gulf states of strategic importance to the Agahan Group. BELLUS Health retains all rights to VIVIMIND™ with respect to Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The total consideration to be paid by the Agahan Group to BELLUS Health consists of an upfront payment, a regulatory milestone payment expected to be received in the next 12 months, commercial milestone payments should certain mutually agreed upon sales targets be achieved, and a tiered royalty rate of 15 to 17 percent, depending on sales. The Agreement also provides for BELLUS Health to supply the product to the Agahan Group at a pre-agreed transfer price. The Agahan Group intends to immediately proceed with obtaining regulatory approval for VIVIMIND™ in the countries where it has exclusive distribution rights, following which it will move quickly to launch the product through prescribing physicians and direct-to-consumer pharmacy sales.
"This strategic transaction enables us to expand VIVIMIND™'s international reach to over 430 million people in these large Middle-Eastern markets. With its in-depth understanding of this region, the Agahan Group is an ideal partner to realize VIVIMIND™'s full commercial potential in this market," said Roberto Bellini, President and Chief Executive Officer of BELLUS Health. "This transaction fits within our strategy of forming partnerships with strong regional industry players to build a worldwide distribution network for VIVIMIND™. We are pursuing efforts to conclude similar partnerships in other territories around the world," Mr. Bellini added.
"The Agahan Group has always put the utmost importance on providing consumers with products that meet high standards of safety and efficacy," said Dr. Seyed Hashemi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Agahan Group. "VIVIMIND™, which is scientifically proven to help support the hippocampus, the specific area of the brain responsible for memory and learning, fits perfectly within our philosophy. It is the ideal product to expand our portfolio into the attractive cognitive health market, and we look forward to bringing this product to consumers in the Middle East," Dr. Hashemi concluded.'
VIVIMIND™ is scientifically proven to help support the specific area of the brain known as the hippocampus, a region responsible for memory and learning. The active ingredient behind VIVIMIND™, homotaurine, is a naturally occurring amino acid with unique properties found in certain seaweeds. VIVIMIND™ is intended for use by normal aging adults.
VIVIMIND™ was subject to over 15 years of significant scientific research, including clinical testing in over 2,000 individuals in European, American and Canadian medical centres. In a large controlled clinical study, VIVIMIND™ was shown to reduce hippocampus volume loss in Alzheimer's patients by 68% over 18 months.1 Regulatory approvals for the commercial sale of VIVIMIND™ were obtained in Italy and in Spain in 2009, and a Natural Health Product Number was issued by Health Canada for VIVIMIND™ in September 2010.
1 Gauthier S. et al, Journal Nutrition Health Aging, 2009; 13 (6): 550-7.
About the Agahan Group
Founded in 1998, the Agahan Group is establishing a dominant position in the territories where it operates, namely the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Iran and several other Middle Eastern countries. The Group's mission is to become the basic source of products for health and mental, physical and sexual well-being in the Middle East. The Agahan Group is a conglomerate of companies comprising Agahan Laboratories, Agahan Ayandeye Pars and Agahan Gostar, a wholly owned distribution company. For further information, please visit www.agahangroup.com.
About BELLUS Health
BELLUS Health is a development-focused health company concentrating on research and development of products that provide innovative health solutions and address critical unmet medical needs. For further information, please visit www.bellushealth.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements contained in this news release, other than statements of fact that are independently verifiable at the date hereof, may constitute forward-looking statements. Such statements, based as they are on the current expectations of management, inherently involve numerous risks and uncertainties, known and unknown, many of which are beyond BELLUS Health Inc.'s control. Such risks include but are not limited to: the impact of general economic conditions, general conditions in the pharmaceutical and/or nutraceutical industry, changes in the regulatory environment in the jurisdictions in which the BELLUS Health Group does business, stock market volatility, fluctuations in costs, and changes to the competitive environment due to consolidation, that actual results may vary once the final and quality-controlled verification of data and analyses has been completed, as well as other risks disclosed in public filings of BELLUS Health Inc. Consequently, actual future results may differ materially from the anticipated results expressed in the forward-looking statements. The reader should not place undue reliance, if any, on any forward-looking statements included in this news release. These statements speak only as of the date made and BELLUS Health Inc. is under no obligation and disavows any intention to update or revise such statements as a result of any event, circumstances or otherwise, unless required by applicable legislation or regulation. Please see the Annual Information Form of BELLUS Health Inc. for further risk factors that might affect the BELLUS Health Group and its business.
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