Omthera Pharmaceuticals, which is in the process of being acquired by AstraZeneca, has filed its anti-triglyceride drug Epanova with regulators in the USA.
The Princeton, New Jersey-based company is seeking approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to sell Epanova, a coated soft gelatin capsule containing a mixture of polyunsaturated free fatty acids derived from fish oils, for the treatment of patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia. The submission is based on two Phase III trials (EVOLVE and ESPRIT) examining the effectiveness of Epanova in lowering very high triglycerides, and in reducing non-HDL cholesterol in combination with a statin. Both trials were conducted under a special protocol assessment with the FDA.
The filing will please AstraZeneca which announced at the end of May that it will buy Omthera for $12.70 per share, or around $323 million. In addition to the cash payment, each Omthera shareholder will receive contingent value rights of up to $4.70 per share – or around $120 million in total - if specified milestones related to Epanova are achieved.
When the deal was announced, Omthera chief executive Gerald Wisler said he expects AstraZeneca to "maximise the value of Epanova not only as a monotherapy treatment for dyslipidemia but also as a treatment for cardiovascular disease in combination with Crestor (atorvastatin)", the firm's cholesterol blockbuster.
If approved, Epanova will compete with GlaxoSmithKline's Lovaza and Amarin’s Vascep