SAN DIEGO—Pharmaceutical company Zogenix, Inc., whichcommercializes and develops products for the treatment of central nervoussystem disorders and pain, recently announced the end of the co-promotion ofSUMAVEL DosePro Needle-free Delivery System with along with Astellas Pharma US,Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. The co-promotionwill end on March 31, 2012, and as of the second quarter of 2012, Zogenix willassume full responsibility for continued commercialization on the brand andwill no longer pay service fees to Astellas. The company is evaluatingpotential co-promotion partners who could complement the efforts of its salesforce. Neither Zogenix nor Astellas will face any penalty payments related tothe early termination of the agreement, which was originally set to expire June30, 2013. Astellas will continue to contribute its agreed upon portion ofmarketing expenses through March 31, 2012, and will continue earning a servicefee based on product sales to its physician segment throughout that timeperiod.
"The conclusion of our co-promotion agreement withAstellas starting in the second quarter will lower expenses as a result of theelimination of the service fee," Roger Hawley, chief executive officer ofZogenix, said in a press release. "We are evaluating a number of potentialpharmaceutical company partners who have expressed interest in promotingSUMAVEL DosePro within their prescriber audiences. Alternatively, we willexplore a modest expansion of our sales force. We expect to provide an updateon these activities by the end of the first quarter."
The SUMAVEL DosePro system was launched with Astellas, inJanuary 2010 as an acute treatment for migraine and cluster headache in theUnited States. Zogenix focused primarily on marketing to the neurology market,while Astellas focused primarily on primary care physicians.
Zogenix expects minimal impact on brand cash flow next year,given the current sales trends. In Q3 2011, the company generated 63 percent ofSUMAVEL DosePro unit demand from specialists within its segment. They are stillmeeting expectations for the brand, as the prescription refill rate held at 38percent in the third quarter, and total prescriptions increased 16 percent inthe first ten weeks of Q4 over the first ten weeks of Q3.
"Beginning in January the recently expanded Zogenix salesforce…will start transitioning all of the highest prescribers of SUMAVEL intoprimary care segment," said Hawley in a conference call. "We will also workwith Astellas to create a detailed customer transition plan by February 1 withthe goal of uninterrupted access and service to prescribers within the Astellassegment. We believe we can achieve our goals to accelerate the growth of thebrand with minimal disruption to the existing primary care prescribers."
Hawley added that in 2012, the company will "leverage ourstrong relationships with our neurologists and headache specialists to createmore brand awareness among prim care physicians," and believes that theagreement amendment "provides us with the best opportunity to accelerateadoption of SUMAVEL DosePro."
"Our long-term goal with SUMAVEL DosePro is unchanged,"said Hawley in a press release. "The unmet patient need is significant. We havea clear objective to get more physicians to treat the varying intensity of theattacks with the right form of triptan therapy and focus on pain-free outcomesas the acute treatment goal."