Business Irish

Friday 19 January 2018

Merrion chief confident deal will boost drug firm

John Mulligan

The chief executive of Irish drug development firm Merrion Pharmaceuticals, John Lynch, says he is confident the company will secure new agreements to boost business after the cessation of an initial product work with an existing partner saw revenue fall more than 26pc last year to €4.67m. Net losses, meanwhile, widened to €2.51m from €1.63m.

IEX-listed Merrion develops oral versions of medicines that traditionally may have been administered by injection or infusion. It develops those drugs using a technology platform owned by the company.

Merrion, a spin-off of Elan, is closely linked with Danish medicine supplier Novo Nordisk, which has signed a number of agreements with the Irish firm that could ultimately produce as much as $100m in revenue for Merrion.

Late last year, the two unveiled a collaboration and option agreement, and a warrant agreement whereby Merrion would evaluate the ability of its GIPET drug technology to boost availability of an oral form of an undisclosed compound.

Merrion has also entered into a feasibility and option agreement with US-based Rebel Pharmaceuticals where the Irish company will evaluate the ability of GIPET technology to enhance the clinical profile of two compounds.

Mr Lynch said yesterday that Merrion would continue work on its Orazol adjuvant breast cancer treatment.

"Recent third-party clinical trials published on zoledronic acid, the active ingredient in Orazol, have demonstrated significant improvement in disease recurrence and survival in breast cancer," he added.

"We have used this data to refine the design of our trial and we are currently working to clarify the cost of a Phase III clinical trial in order to bring Orazol to the market."

Goodbody analyst Eamonn Hughes said Merrion's reported operating loss was "bang in line" with expectations.

Irish Independent

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