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EUSA and Ohara partner on oncology drug

EUSA Pharma has entered the Japanese market through a partnership with Ohara Pharmaceutical on oncology therapy Erwinase

Oncology, pain control and critical care company, EUSA Pharma, has entered the Japanese market through a partnership agreement with Ohara Pharmaceutical for Erwinase (Erwinia L-asparaginase), its oncology therapy.

EUSA Pharma has granted development and commercialisation rights to Ohara Pharmaceutical. Under the terms of the agreement, Ohara will be responsible for any late-stage development required by the Japanese authorities and will pay EUSA an upfront fee and royalties on future sales.

Erwinase is an L-asparaginase derived from Erwinia chrysanthemi, which is used to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in combination with other anti-neoplastic agents. It is currently approved for use in Canada and a number of countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and is undergoing registration procedures in several other territories.

"This agreement represents an important strategic milestone for EUSA as it extends the reach of our partnership network to the Japanese market for the first time," said Bryan Morton, EUSA Pharma's president and chief executive officer.

"In the past four years EUSA has made great progress building a broad portfolio of marketed products and a specialty commercial infrastructure in Europe and North America. At the same time we have put in place a wider distribution network to bring our products to patients in over 80 countries around the world. Our new partnership with Ohara extends the reach of our commercialisation capabilities, which now cover all of the world's major pharmaceutical markets."

Dr Seiji Ohara, Ohara Pharmaceutical's CEO and president, said: "Erwinase is an ideal fit with Ohara's growing portfolio of oncology and orphan drugs, and continues the transition of our business towards innovative new therapeutics. We look forward to working with the Japanese health authorities and leading opinion leaders to make this therapy available to patients throughout Japan."

Established in 2006, EUSA Pharma is supported by a consortium of life science capital investors. Since its foundation, the company has raised over $300m and acquired Cytogen Corp, Talisker Pharma, OPi SA and the European antibiotic and pain control business of Innocoll Pharmaceuticals Inc.

7th July 2010

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