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Apricus Biosciences buying CSO to support European sales push

By Nick Taylor , 21-Jun-2012
Last updated on 21-Jun-2012 at 12:00 GMT

Apricus Biosciences buying CSO to support European sales push

Apricus Biosciences is to buy a French contract sales and marketing firm to support its activities in Europe.

The CSO (contract sales organisation), Scomedica, is profitable and moved €60m ($76m) to €70m worth of drugs for clients last year. Apricus Biosciences has other plans for the company though.

Our hope from this really is not to continue to use the French group as a contract sales force. What we want is to move towards a pure pharmaceutical products company where we’re…bringing in all the revenues for ourselves,” Bassam Damaj, CEO of Apricus Biosciences, told investors yesterday.

Last year Scomedica posted profits of roughly €8.0m by selling and marketing “multiple drugs for multiple companies,” Damaj said. If “fully loaded” the company has capacity to bring in up to €14m but Apricus Biosciences plans to generate bigger revenues by having Scomedica sell its own drugs.

The plan is to use in-licensing and co-promotion deals to build a portfolio of five products by 2014. Many biopharma firms lack the infrastructure to introduce drugs in Europe, Bassam said, and Apricus Biosciences will to try to secure rights to these compounds and then use Scomedica to sell them.

Eventually Apricus Bioscienceshopes its products will make up the €70m worth of drugs Scomedica is now selling for its clients. As such, over time Scomedica is expected to use more and more of its sales team for promoting drugs in the Apricus Biosciences portfolio.

The first project is a topical erectile dysfunction drug, Vitaros (alprostadil), which Apricus Biosciences hopes have approved in Europe. Owning Scomedica will allow Apricus Biosciences to begin its push to take market share from Viagra (sildenafil citrate) without investing in a sales and marketing team.

Apricus Biosciences will pay €7m in stock, plus milestone payments of €1.8m in newly issued shares, to acquire Scomedica.

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