Opko Health Inc. (NYSE: OPK); TASE: OPK) plans to bring two major drugs to market by 2016: Rayaldi, a Vitamin D derivative for kidney disease, and the longer-lasting human growth hormone developed by Prolor Biotech, which completed its merger with Opko earlier this month.
Prolor held its investors conference in Israel today to help the local capital market deal with its complex activities. Opko, headed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) chairman Dr. Phillip Frost, dual-listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) in August. It has three main areas of business: the development of improved versions of existing drugs; innovative diagnostic products; and the distribution of over-the-counter and generic drugs, especially in emerging markets, under the Opko label. It has also invested in ten start-ups, one of them Israeli.
"Opko is already building the distribution channels for the products that it will bring to market in a few years, just as Frost did at Ivax (which Teva acquired for $7.4 billion in 2005). The diagnostics and drugs will be sold by the same sales team to the same doctors," said Prolor president Shai Novik in explaining the synergy between the three businesses.
People with kidney disease are frequently also deficient in Vitamin D, but require a special version of it, and which is a prescription drug. But these drugs can have severe side effects, including accumulation of calcium, which further damages the kidneys. Rayaldi is supposed to avoid this effect
Novik says that the potential market is $6 billion for Opko, assuming that it wins half of the market. Opko has begun clinical trials on Rayaldi, with the results due in 2014.
The other drug due to reach market is Prolor's longer-lasting human growth hormone, which is in a Phase III clinical trial and due to reach market in 2015.
Opko is also developing two lines of diagnostics products. One line is tests that doctors can carry out on site, instead of sending the sample to laboratories. The first products will test for Vitamin D deficiency (which can be sold to the same doctors who will prescribe Rayaldi), a PSA test for prostate cancer, and a testosterone test. The company also has a products line of diagnostics for diseases for which there are no accurate tests at present, such as Alzheimer's disease and certain cancers.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 10, 2013
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