London-based Speciality European Pharma Ltd has bought the distribution rights to Amphocil for Germany, France and Italy from US group Three Rivers Pharmaceutical for an undisclosed sum.

Amphocil (amphotericin B cholesteryl sulfate complex for injection) is a lipid form of amphotericin B and is used to fight life threatening systemic fungal infections, such as invasive aspergillosis, which mainly occur in immuno-compromised patients.

The drug is already on the market in several countries including the UK and USA; it has received the green light from regulators in Italy and will be registered in Germany and France later this year, according to the company.

Significant market

A report last year by market research company Datamonitor suggested that the worldwide market for systemic antifungals will grow from a level of around $3.3 billion in 2003 to almost $6 billion by 2014, driven by an increased incidence and severity of invasive fungal infections, combined with the launch of novel, premium priced antifungal products.

Commenting on the deal, Geoff McMillan, Chief Executive of the firm, said: “This agreement provides us with a further regulatory stage product in one of our focus areas, critical care," and on to say that the move "follows the company’s recent acquisitions of the approved products, Plenaxis (abarelix) and Haemopressin."

SEP was born in 2006 with the central aim of identifying and buying specialist pharmaceutical products for the European market. In February this year, the company acquired Swiss group Proreo Pharma, and therefore the rights to Haemopressin, a treatment of bleeding oesophageal varices. SEP also purchased certain rights to and Plenaxis for prostate cancer from Praecis Pharmaceuticals, making Amphocil the third approved product for which the group has secured certain distribution rights.