viewAequus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Aequus Pharma’s sales push expands market for revenue-drivers Tacrolimus and Vistitan

CEO Doug Janzen says the long-term revenue potential for both drugs remains high after final royalty adjustments with Sandoz

A man putting eye drops
Aequus Pharmaceuticals seizes the opportunities cast aside by big pharmaceutical companies and brings new drugs to Canada

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CVE:AQS) (OTCMKTS:AQSZF) CEO Doug Janzen said Friday that the company’s sales push was focused on its two main revenue drivers: Vistitan eye drops and transplant therapy Tacrolimus.

“Aequus continues to drive its promotional efforts forward with first quarter unit growth of 27% and 5.3% over 1Q 2018 in our main revenue drivers, Vistitan and Tacrolimus, respectively,” said Janzen in a statement.

Both pharmaceutical products currently form the core of the company’s business.

READ: Aequus Pharmaceuticals signs deal with world-renowned eye clinic to use Zepto system in cataract surgeries

Vistitan, which reduces the pressure inside the eyes of patients with glaucoma was first marketed by Sandoz, which is a now a division of pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS).

Its second drug is another Sandoz Canada offering, the transplant therapy Tacrolimus, which aims to treat and prevent acute rejection following an organ transplant.

For the quarter ended March 2019, Aequus Pharmaceuticals posted $328,996 in revenue. The revenue would have been higher if it wasn’t for a tiered profit share outlined in a royalty agreement with Sandoz, which decreases Aequus' profit share in in the first quarter for both Tacrolimus and Vistitan. 

“Given our current run rate we expect to offset that step down in the following quarters,” said the company.

On January 1, Aequus’ profit sharing royalty for Tacrolimus and Vistitan was reduced in accordance with a contractual tiered royalty structure with Sandoz. This change impacts the royalty revenue to Aequus from these products. The first quarter reflected the final royalty adjustment as part of the Sandoz royalty agreement.

Commercial milestones

Significantly, during the first quarter Aequus signed a term sheet for an exclusive license with Medicom Healthcare Ltd, a private UK-based pharma company developing preservative free therapies in ophthalmology.

The proposed license agreement is for the Canadian commercial rights to five products within Medicom’s Evolve line of preservative free dry eye products.

“We remain confident in resuming revenue growth over the long-term, with continued penetration of our marketed products, and consistent additions to the commercial product portfolio through national and international partnerships similar to our recently announced relationship with Medicom Healthcare Ltd,” said Janzen.

For the Evolve line of products, Aequus and its regulatory consultants are ready to submit product approval applications to Health Canada pending an audit of Medicom’s manufacturing facility, which is a requirement of Health Canada prior to submission.

“When I reflect back on where we were this time last year, I’m delighted at the progress that we’ve made,” said Ian Ball, chief commercial officer at Aequus. “The sales team has averaged over 1,000 calls per representative, grown our volumes, and established relationships with a key customer base that sets us up well for future launches. We are excited about the addition of the Evolve line of products which leverages our existing infrastructure and expertise, bringing a broad and unique portfolio into the Canadian dry-eye market. These items, along with our ongoing discussions with potential partners to further grow our product portfolio, sets Aequus up for a strong year.”

Aequus takes medications that are already available in the US or elsewhere and licenses or acquires the Canadian rights, then takes the clinical data that supported that approval and works with Health Canada, Canada’s national health system, to get them approved and commercialized in Canada.

Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter@UttaraProactive 

Quick facts: Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Price: 0.12 CAD

Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $13.4 m

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