BELLUS Health reports results for first quarter ended March 31, 2010

LAVAL, QC, May 12 /CNW Telbec/ - BELLUS Health Inc. (TSX: BLU) ("BELLUS Health" or the "Company") reported today its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2010.

"The last few months have been satisfying for BELLUS Health as we advanced the products in our pipeline while continuing to focus on controlling costs," said Roberto Bellini, President and Chief Executive Officer of BELLUS Health. "Our new partnership with Celtic Therapeutics on KIACTA(TM) and the advancement of NRM8499 development program for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease demonstrate the value in our product pipeline. Also, our decision to discontinue trials on NC-503 (eprodisate) for the treatment of Type II diabetes due to lack of efficacy in the Phase II clinical trial enables us to focus our finances more readily on projects that create value for shareholders," he added.

Financial Results

As previously reported, effective January 1, 2010, the Company adopted the Canadian dollar as its functional and reporting currency as a significant portion of its expenses, assets, liabilities and financing are denominated in Canadian dollars. All currency figures reported in this press release, including comparative figures, are in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise specified.

For the first quarter ended March 31, 2010, the Company recorded a net loss of $4,193,000 ($0.02 per share), compared to $12,345,000 ($0.25 per share) for the corresponding quarter the previous year.

The decreased loss for the first quarter of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009 is mainly due to a reduction in research and development (R&D) expenses, in general and administrative expenses due to measures implemented by the Company to reduce its burn rate, and in marketing expenses following the Company's decision to cease its marketing and sales activities for VIVIMIND(TM). Reduced R&D expenses are in relation to the Phase II clinical trial for NC-503 (eprodisate) for the treatment of Type II diabetes and certain features of metabolic syndrome, which concluded during the first quarter of 2010.

As at March 31, 2010, the Company had available cash and cash equivalents of $11,245,000, compared to $14,017,000 at December 31, 2009. The decrease is primarily due to funds used in operating activities offset by the Company's 2008 refundable tax credits earned under the Quebec Scientific Research and Experimental Development Program, which were received during the current quarter.

The Company's consolidated financial statements and accompanying Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three-month period ended March 31, 2010, will be available in the coming days on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and shortly on the Company's web site at www.bellushealth.com.

2010 First Quarter Highlights

During the first quarter of 2010, the Company initiated a Phase I clinical study for NRM8499, a prodrug of tramiprosate, which is intended for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study will investigate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile of NRM8499 in a group of up to 84 young and elderly healthy subjects. NRM8499 has been identified by BELLUS Health as a compound which increases the brain exposure to tramiprosate.

Subsequent Events:

KIACTA(TM) partnership

On April 29, 2010, the Company entered into a final agreement pursuant to which Celtic Therapeutics acquired and licensed worldwide rights related to the Phase III investigational product candidate KIACTA(TM) (eprodisate) for upfront payments of US$10 million and will fund 100% of KIACTA(TM)'s development costs through its confirmatory Phase III clinical study and other development activities. The upfront consideration is to be paid in two instalments, with US$5 million having been paid on the closing of the transaction and the remaining US$5 million payable on the sixth month anniversary of the closing date. Celtic Therapeutics will complete the Phase III study and all other requirements for KIACTA(TM)'s regulatory approval. Celtic Therapeutics will also conduct an auction process for the commercialization rights of KIACTA(TM). The overall proceeds of the auction process are expected to be shared equally between Celtic Therapeutics and the Company.

NC-503 diabetes program

During the first quarter of 2010, the Phase II clinical trial investigating the efficacy of NC-503 (eprodisate) for the treatment of Type II diabetes and certain features of metabolic syndrome concluded. On May 4, 2010, the Company announced its decision to discontinue the NC-503 (eprodisate) diabetes development program due to lack of efficacy in the Phase II clinical trial, which will enable the Company to focus its resources on other promising projects.

Going Concern

As a result of the signing of an agreement with Celtic Therapeutics on KIACTA(TM), management is of the view that the going concern risk disclosed in previous periods has been reduced for the next twelve months.

About BELLUS Health

BELLUS Health is a global health company focused on the research and development of products to provide innovative health solutions to 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.

SOURCE BELLUS Health Inc.

For further information: For further information: Anne-Marie Durand, NATIONAL Public Relations, (514) 843-2319, amdurand@national.ca


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