Business Irish

Sunday 16 December 2018

Irish pharma company signs Middle East distribution agreement

(Stock image)
(Stock image)
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Irish-listed Amryt Pharma, which is focused on finding treatments for rare and orphan diseases, has signed a distribution agreement for the company’s Lojuxta (lomitapide) product covering Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

The agreement is with Pharaon Healthcare-Droguerie Mercury, one of the leading full-service distributors in the region, the company said.

Lojuxta is a treatment for Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia ("HoFH"), a rare, life-limiting disease, which impairs the body's ability to remove bad cholesterol from the blood.

The disease process starts before birth and progresses rapidly, and typically results in extremely high bad cholesterol levels in blood, leading to aggressive and premature narrowing and blocking of blood vessels.

"This is Amryt’s fifth new distribution agreement for Lojuxta in approximately three months, and we are delighted to be partnering with Pharaon Healthcare in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria," Dr. Joe Wiley, chief executive officer of Amryt, said.

"Pharaon Healthcare has an excellent footprint and many decades of experience in these markets, and this new agreement should help to ensure we can respond effectively to physicians’ requests regarding their patients suffering with HoFH."

Amryt estimates that there are approximately 40 patients with HoFH in the countries covered by this agreement, with Lebanon in particular having a pronounced "founder effect" and therefore materially higher prevalence of HoFH, according to the company.

Amryt today also announced the appointment of Jordi Casals as the company's Head of Europe.

Mr Casals, who has over 20 years' experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, will be responsible for leading and further developing Amryt's European operations, including product launches.

His initial focus will be on the continuing sales growth of Lojuxta, Amryt said today.

Most recently Mr Casals worked for Aegerion Pharmaceuticals as a consultant, managing its commercial operations in the Iberia region.

Before that, he worked for eight years at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, latterly as vice president for commercial operations Western Europe.

He has also held sales and marketing roles at Grifols, the European multinational pharmaceutical, and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Europe, the Japan-based pharmaceutical company.

"Mr Casals significant commercial experience of European markets will help us to drive and further develop Amryt's growth across this key region," Dr Wiley said.

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