ESPOO, Finland, Dec 19, 2013 (Menafn - GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) --ORION CORPORATION STOCK EXCHANGE RELEASE 19 DECEMBER 2013 at 7.45 p.m. EET
Orion Corporation (nasdaq omx helsinki:ORNAV and ORNBV) announced today that it has entered into a license agreement with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for the development and commercialization of Orion's novel, investigational alpha-2c adrenoceptor antagonists for the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, including a clinical phase compound ORM-12741.
According to the agreement, Orion will receive an upfront payment of USD 31 million and is eligible to receive milestone payments from Janssen upon successful completion of certain development and commercialization events, as well as royalties on future sales. Orion will use the majority of the up-front payment over the next few years against the costs of the additional Phase IIa study sponsored by Orion.
Under the terms of the agreement, Orion will have exclusive commercialization rights in Europe and will grant Janssen a worldwide exclusive license to develop ORM-12741 and other compounds of alpha-2c platform. Janssen will have an exclusive right to commercialize these compounds outside Europe. Orion and Janssen will co-fund the development after an additional Phase IIa study is completed successfully by Orion.
The agreement causes no change on Orion's full-year 2013 outlook.
Dr. Reijo Salonen, Senior Vice President of R&D at Orion commented:
"In our collaboration with Janssen, I believe we will have the best of all worlds," said Dr. Reijo Salonen, SVP R&D and Chief Medical Officer for Orion. "At Janssen, there is a track record of success and commitment of developing therapies in Neurosciences; at Orion, we have a track record of inventing innovative molecules; and for Alzheimer patients, we hope that this partnership will bring them a novel medicine that will make an important difference to their lives."
Orion has completed Phase IIa clinical trial with ORM-12741 and presented the results at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in March 2013. The trial investigated the efficacy and safety of the drug candidate in treatment of cognitive and behavioral symptoms related to Alzheimer's disease and showed significant positive effects on episodic memory in patients with moderately ill patients. ORM-12741 was generally well tolerated in the study.
ORM-12741 is a highly potent and selective alpha-2C adrenoceptor (AR) antagonist. It is the first drug developed to target this specific subtype of adrenergic receptors in the brain. The research team believes that in conditions like Alzheimer's disease, psychotic disorders and depression the impaired cognitive functioning of the patients is further worsened with varying degrees of stress and that alpha-2C adrenoceptor antagonist blockade can provide beneficial stabilization of neurotransmission and improve both cognitive performance and behavioral symptoms. In line with this ORM-12741 has demonstrated efficacy in rodent models suggesting beneficial effects on these symptoms.
Read the study poster at: http://www.orion.fi/congress-publications
About Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and contributes roughly to 60-70 % of cases. It is a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys brain cells. The symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include difficulties in remembering recent events, and particularly in more advanced disease, behavioral symptoms like agitation, delusions and depression. The pathophysiology of AD is related to the injury and death of neurons, initiating in the hippocampus brain region that is involved with memory and learning. The cause of Alzheimer's disease is still not completely understood and, like many other chronic neurological conditions, it is believed that Alzheimer's disease is a complex result of various factors.
At the moment, there is no cure available for Alzheimer's disease and current treatments have only moderate effects on the symptoms of the disease. According to the World Alzheimer Report 2012 published by Alzheimer's disease International, there were 36 million people diagnosed with dementia in 2010 worldwide.
Timo LappalainenOlli Huotari
President and CEOSVP, Corporate Functions
Reijo Salonen, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Orion Corporation tel. 358 50 966 3647
Orionintie 1A, FI-02200 Espoo, Finland
Orion is a globally operating Finnish company developing pharmaceuticals and diagnostic tests - a builder of well-being. Orion develops, manufactures and markets human and veterinary pharmaceuticals, active pharmaceutical ingredients and diagnostic tests. The company is continuously developing new drugs and treatment methods. Pharmaceutical R&D focuses on central nervous system drugs, oncology and critical care drugs, and Easyhaler(R) pulmonary drugs.
Orion's net sales in 2012 amounted to EUR 980 million and the company had about 3,500 employees. Orion's A and B shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.