Grünenthal has acquired the US-based pharmaceutical company Averitas Pharma, thereby extending its commercial footprint to the United States. Averitas Pharma will be commercialising the pain patch Qutenza (8% capsaicin) for Grünenthal in the US. Grünenthal had only recently acquired the remaining global rights, including the US rights, for the product from Acorda Therapeutics.
Why this deal? Commerialization of the Qutenza in US:
Qutenza (capsaicin) 8% patch is approved in the US for the management of neuropathic pain associated with postherpetic neuralgia. And Grünenthal was looking for the probable strategic path to effectively commercialize Qutenza.
Qutenza is a local analgesic and an alternative to the current standard of care, as there is still a high unmet medical need in pain management, particularly for non-opioid and non-systemic treatments. In Europe, it is approved for a broad peripheral neuropathic pain indication in adults, e.g. post-surgical neuropathic pain, cancer-related neuropathic pain and painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy. In the US, Qutenza is currently only approved for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). Averitas Pharma will work towards a broader neuropathic pain label from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
Averitas Pharma is a perfect match due to its significant specialty pharma expertise in the US market and experience in different commercial models also beyond the typical ‘reach and frequency’ approach. Averitas Pharma will be enhancing the commercial distribution model for Qutenza towards a specialty pharmacy and hub services model that makes it easier for patients to access the product and support health care professionals in prescribing and applying it.
Grünenthal continues executing its growth strategy and has been expanding its pain portfolio by a series of acquisitions including European rights to Nexium, the global (ex US and Japan) rights to Vimovo, the global rights to Qutenza and global (ex Japan) rights to Zomig. The company has signed deals with a total value of more than US$ 1.3 billion since 2016.
- Qutenza (capsaicin) 8% patch
- A single, 1-hour, localized treatment with Qutenza may provide 3 months of relief from post-shingles nerve pain (PHN).
- In Europe, Qutenza is approved by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of peripheral neuropathic pain in adults, including post-surgical neuropathic pain, cancer-related neuropathic pain and painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, either alone or in combination with other pain medicines.
- The 8% capsaicin patch delivers a high dose of capsaicin directly to the damaged nerves in the skin that are the source of neuropathic pain. Applied to the area of pain, the capsaicin reduces the spontaneous activity and consequently reduces the neuropathic pain intensity.