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UK drug re-developer sees business in pharma turmoil

By Nick Taylor , 22-Sep-2011

Oxford Pharmascience expects the challenges facing biopharm to drive interest in its drug delivery and reformulation technologies.

Biopharm companies are looking to enhance existing products to grow revenues despite difficulties bringing new drugs to market and generic competition. Enhancing existing products will need new technologies and Oxford Pharmascience wants to apply its intellectual property to this task.

The company is using advanced drug delivery and pharmaceutic technologies to formulate products that are easier or more pleasant to take. This is particularly relevant for the geriatric or paediatric markets”, David Norwood, chairman of Oxford Pharmascience, said.

In April Oxford Pharmascience furthered this strategy by forming a seven-year partnership with Brazil-based Aché Laboratórios Farmacêuticos. Oxford Pharmascience will use its technologies to develop pharmaceuticals with properties such as taste masking and quick dissolution for Aché.

A £105,000 ($162,000) shipment was produced and dispatched in August as part of the deal and trade sales are expected to begin this year. In the first half of 2011 sales outside the UK and Middle East totalled £3,000.

First half sales down

Global sales for the period were £20,000, down 75% on the corresponding period of last year. The drop is accounted for by a downturn in sales from the Middle East. In 2010 Oxford Pharmascience reported strong sales of its own-brand calcium supplement in the region.

Since then the company has moved away from nutraceuticals and rebranded, from Nutrascience to Pharmascience, as a result. The focus is now on applying its technologies to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), statins and calcium medicines.

Operating loss in the first half was £501,000, a slightly worse result than in 2010 despite having to pay costs related to listing on the stock exchange last year. The loss in 2011 was driven by a big uptick in administrative expenses.

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