Discover the history of Vernalis, learn about some of the candidates we have developed, and a few of the partnerships we’ve been involved in.
Vernalis came into being back in 2003, with the merger of British Biotech plc, Ribo Targets Holding plc and Vernalis Group plc. Between them, these three companies had a number of promising product candidates in development, and these formed the basis of the new Vernalis Commercial pipeline.
From 2004 to 2007, Vernalis concentrated primarily on opportunities aimed at the US market. We acquired exclusive US marketing and sales rights to Apokyn, an approved drug for advanced Parkinson’s disease, from Mylan in 2005. We also put in place a co-licensing agreement with Endo to market frovatriptan in the US, the drug we had successfully developed for the acute treatment of migraine. We sought the approval of Frovatriptan for use in the prevention of menstrual migraine for the US market but in 2007 the FDA issued a “not approvable” letter for this indication. This forced a far-reaching re-evaluation of our business strategy.
In 2008 Vernalis agreed with Endo to forgo royalties on US sales of frovatriptan in order to satisfy $50m of debt, owed to Endo. We entered into a financing agreement with Paul Capital Healthcare related to the European rights and royalties from frovatriptan. That same year also saw the sale of Apokyn, and our remaining US commercial operations to Ipsen.
Since the arrival of a new senior management team at the end of 2008, Vernalis has reprioritised its pipeline. We have entered into external collaborations with partners including Asahi Kasei Pharma, GSK, Genentech, Lundbeck, Novartis, Servier, Taisho and Tris, to help fund our research activities.
A fundraising in February 2010 facilitated us regaining the European royalties to frovatriptan from Paul Capital, so providing a growing income stream for the future.
The next step in the transformation of Vernalis was taken in February 2012, with the announcement of our collaboration with Tris Pharma, to develop and commercialise novel products for the US prescription cough cold market, funded through a further equity raise. Tuzistra® XR, our first cough cold product, was launched in the US in September 2015. At the same time, we acquired the US rights to Moxatag® from Pragma.
For full information on the progress of our commercial pipeline see the commercial section, or consult individual product pages for more detail.