Oxford Pharmascience Group Plc | Medicines made better



20 July 2016

Commercial Update and Directorate Change

Oxford Pharmascience Group plc (AIM: OXP), the specialty pharmaceutical company that redevelops medicines to make them better, safer and easier to take, provides the following update on progress on its commercialisation efforts for its OXPzero™ Ibuprofen and OXPzero™ Naproxen compounds. These variants leverage the Company's proprietary OXPzero™ technology platform, which aims to mask the bitter taste and irritation of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and to provide reduced risk of gastrointestinal (GI) side effects. Ibuprofen and naproxen are the two dominant NSAID molecules in the pain relief and anti-inflammatory sector, with combined worldwide sales in excess of $5bn per annum.1

The Company has initially held discussions, both directly and through a major investment bank adviser, with several global OTC2 pharmaceutical companies with strategic interest in the NSAIDs market with the aim of securing a partnership deal for the whole OXPzero™ platform. These discussions have confirmed to the Company that the OXPzero™ technology, and particularly its GI safety profile, would be a potentially disruptive and very valuable asset in OTC markets. Feedback received to date, however, indicates that these OTC companies would prefer to see the assets further developed and to have more clarity on the regulatory pathway(s) for OTC product approval, before committing to a partnership agreement on either asset or on the platform. Discussions are ongoing in respect of the taste-masking applications of the technology as described below.

The Company is considering, with input from external advisers, its next steps in terms of development and regulatory work and will make further announcements on these processes as appropriate. Oxford Pharmascience remains well-funded to complete this next stage of work, with cash balances as at 30 June 2016 of circa £22.1 million (before receipt of Research and Development tax credit of £0.74 million).

During discussions with prospective partners, it has also become clear that in OTC markets, the taste masking benefits of the OXPzero™ technology are of significant interest. There are multiple opportunities in this area including taste masked non-tablet products for cough & cold remedies and taste masked formulations for pain & fever, all areas in which paracetamol based formulations currently dominate because of the ease of masking the taste of paracetamol and where it is not currently viable to incorporate ibuprofen or naproxen. The Company is currently involved in on-going partnership discussions for these applications of its OXPzero™ technology and will update shareholders in due course.

The Company also announces that Anand Sharma, Non-Executive Director, has resigned from the board of the Company with immediate effect, to concentrate on his other professional and personal commitments.

Commenting on the progress, CEO Marcelo Bravo said:

"While a platform licence deal is less likely in the near-term, we believe the key benefits of our OXPzero™ Ibuprofen and OXPzero™ Naproxen compounds are now better understood in terms of their application across multiple differentiated products and categories. On-going partnership discussions involving the taste masking benefits of the OXPzero™ technology have the potential to demonstrate commercial validation and Oxford Pharmascience will update shareholders on this and all material further developments in due course."

This announcement contains inside information.

(1) Evaluate Pharma, at Manufacturers' selling prices
(2) Over-the-counter


For further information:

Oxford Pharmascience Group Plc  
Marcelo Bravo, Chief Executive +44 207 554 5875
N+1 Singer (Nominated Adviser & Broker)  
Aubrey Powell/Jen Boorer +44 20 7496 3000


About Oxford Pharmascience Group Plc

Oxford Pharmascience Group Plc uses a range of proprietary technology platforms to re-develop existing medicines to make them better, safer or easier to take. The Company does not manufacture or sell its own pharmaceutical products direct to consumers but instead seeks to license its technologies and dossiers to a network of partners, mainly leading pharmaceutical companies with Rx (prescription) and OTC (Over the Counter) branded portfolios.

Oxford Pharmascience Group Plc focuses on existing medicines that are proven to be safe and effective but nevertheless still have associated issues and side effects often affecting compliance. By working with such medicines the Company is able to develop new innovative products for a fraction of the cost, in much quicker timescales and without the high risk of failure associated with developing new drugs.

About OXPzero™ NSAIDs

Specifically, by comparison with generic NSAIDs, OXPzero™ Ibuprofen and OXPzero™ Naproxen are milder in the GI tract, delivering major reduction in severe GI mucosal damage, significantly mask the bitter taste/burn associated with NSAIDs, and deliver an attractive pharmacokinetic profile with adaptable drug release properties.