Cambridge, UK – April 20, 2017
Proximagen’s parent company Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. (Upsher-Smith), a business owned by the Evenstad family, today announced an agreement to sell its generics business and branded epilepsy therapy, Qudexy® XR (topiramate) extended-release capsules, to Sawai, a Japanese publicly traded and family run generics pharmaceutical company. Proximagen ceases to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Upsher-Smith and will instead be a wholly-owned subsidiary of a newly created Evenstad holding company, ACOVA. The Evenstad Family will continue to fund Proximagen through ACOVA.
The Evenstad family remain committed to investing in innovative small molecule drug discovery and development, and Proximagen will continue to benefit from ownership by investors with a long-term view. Mark Evenstad, CEO of Upsher-Smith, will become CEO of ACOVA. Mark commented, “I am excited to continue to pursue my passion for helping patients and their families through the work that we undertake at Proximagen in developing new medicines.”
William (Bill) Pullman, currently CSO and President of Upsher-Smith’s Biotech Research Institute Division, will lead Proximagen. Proximagen’s strategy remains to leverage the drug discovery expertise at its integrated site in Cambridge UK to develop innovative small molecule therapeutics in CNS, inflammation and pain. Proximagen will also maintain capabilities in the US with a focused team providing drug development, project management and translational medicine expertise.
Bill Pullman commented, “This is an exciting new chapter for Proximagen. The company will continue to focus on achieving Mark’s vision through innovative small molecule drug discovery in Cambridge UK and our focused US-based development capabilities.”
Proximagen will retain its existing pipeline of small molecule NCE programs, including two programs in clinical development. In addition, Upsher-Smith’s intranasal midazolam program for acute repetitive seizures (currently known as USL261) will become part of Proximagen’s pipeline.
Proximagen will maintain its strategy of collaborations for later stage clinical development, exemplified by its Phase II clinical collaboration with Roche on a VAP-1 inhibitor. Proximagen will also continue to actively seek early stage collaborations, in addition to its existing collaboration with Saniona on an ion channel target, in order to access innovative ideas and programs to which it can apply drug discovery and development expertise to progress into testing in the clinic.
Proximagen and its predecessor companies have a long heritage in discovery and development of novel small molecule therapeutics, in particular in the areas of CNS, pain and inflammation, and was acquired by Upsher-Smith in 2012. Proximagen has an integrated drug discovery facility based in Cambridge, UK and has developed a pipeline of innovative small molecule therapeutics. The Proximagen pipeline includes a Phase II VAP-1 inhibitor program in inflammation that is partnered with Roche, as well as internal development programs including a CXCR4 antagonist in Phase I targeting oncology indications and a Dopamine D1 positive allosteric modulator in preclinical development targeting cognitive disorders. For more information, visit www.proximagen.com.