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Er-Kim Announces Exclusive Distribution Agreement with Ascendis Pharma A/S to Commercialize 3 Endocrinology Disease Treatments Across Central & Eastern Europe and Turkey

BUCHAREST, Romania, Jan. 09, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Er-Kim, an international pharmaceutical company specializing in the commercialization of novel therapies, today announced it has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with Danish Company Ascendis Pharma A/S (Nasdaq: ASND) for its endocrinology portfolio.

Under the agreement, Er-Kim is appointed as the exclusive Ascendis A/S endocrinology distributor in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Türkiye.

  • Once-weekly SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin) is a human growth hormone (hGH) approved in the European Union for growth failure in children and adolescents aged from 3 to 18 years due to insufficient endogenous growth hormone secretion (growth hormone deficiency [GHD]).2
  • YORVIPATH (palopegteriparatide) is a first-in-class parathyroid hormone (PTH) replacement therapy to treat chronic hypoparathyroidism, a rare and potentially serious condition where the body produces no or abnormally low levels of PTH. It is approved in the European Union for the treatment of adults with chronic hypoparathyroidism.3
  • A third product – TransCon CNP (navepegritide) – is in development by Ascendis Pharma for the treatment of achondroplasia (ACH), the most common genetic form of skeletal dysplasia and resulting disproportionate short stature, following successful Phase 2 trial results.4

“We are immensely honored to be selected as Ascendis Pharma’s partner in this pivotal agreement for our company,” stated Mert Zorlular, CFO of Er-Kim. He added, “Leveraging our exceptional expertise in rare diseases and our preeminent status in endocrinology throughout the region, we eagerly anticipate collaborating with Ascendis and the healthcare community. Our goal is to swiftly establish and broaden patient access to these innovative treatments in our markets.”

“Making a meaningful difference in the lives of patients with rare diseases is a key focus for Ascendis Pharma,” said Camilla Harder Hartvig, Ascendis Pharma’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “We are therefore very pleased to partner with Er-Kim, a company that shares this commitment, to broaden and accelerate access to our innovative Endocrinology Rare Disease treatment options across Central and Eastern Europe and Turkey.”

About Er-Kim

Established in 1981, Er-Kim Pharmaceuticals stands at the forefront of biopharmaceutical innovation, partnering with over 40 global leaders to revolutionize patient care in key international markets. Our pioneering business models, tailored for sustainability and flexibility, have positioned us as a full-service solution, extending our reach to over 500 million patients through our fully-owned affiliates. With a dedicated team of over 250 professionals worldwide and revenues exceeding EUR 100M, Er-Kim is not just a partner but a trailblazer in healthcare, continually setting new standards in commercialization and patient access. For more information, please visit http://www.er-kim.com/.

About Ascendis Pharma

Ascendis Pharma is applying its innovative TransCon technology platform to build a leading, fully integrated biopharma company focused on making a meaningful difference in patients’ lives. Guided by its core values of patients, science and passion, the company uses its TransCon technologies to create new and potentially best-in-class therapies. Please visit https://ascendispharma.com to learn more.

About SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin)

SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin, developed as TransCon™ hGH) is a prodrug of somatropin, designed to provide sustained release of unmodified somatropin. The unmodified, unbound somatropin released from lonapegsomatropin has the same 191 amino acid sequence and size as endogenous GH.5 TransCon hGH is approved and marketed as SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin-tcgd) in the United States1 and as SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin) in the European Union2 as a once-weekly treatment for children and adolescents with GHD.

SKYTROFA single-use, prefilled cartridges are manufactured in nine dosage strengths, allowing for convenient dosing flexibility. They are designed for use only with the SKYTROFA Auto-Injector and may be stored at room temperature for up to six months. The recommended dose of SKYTROFA for treatment-naïve patients and patients switching from daily somatropin is 0.24 mg/kg body weight, administered once weekly.1,2 The dose may be adjusted based on the child’s weight and insulin-like growth factor-1 standard deviation score (IGF-1 SDS).2

TransCon hGH was studied in over 300 children with GHD across the Phase 3 program, which consisted of the Height Trial5 (for treatment-naïve patients), the Flight Trial6 (for treatment-experienced patients), and the Enlighten Trial7 (a long-term extension trial). Patients who completed the Height or Flight Trials were able to continue in Enlighten, with some on lonapegsomatropin treatment for over four years.

Ascendis Pharma is also conducting the ongoing global Phase 3 Foresight Trial of TransCon hGH in adults with GHD.8

About Paediatric Growth Hormone Deficiency

Paediatric GHD is a serious orphan disease caused when the pituitary gland does not produce enough GH. Children with GHD are not only characterised by short stature; they also may experience metabolic abnormalities, psychosocial challenges, and an overall poor quality of life. For decades, the standard of care for GHD has been a daily subcutaneous injection of hGH to improve growth and overall endocrine health.

About YORVIPATH (palopegteriparatide)

YORVIPATH (palopegteriparatide, developed as TransCon™ PTH) is a once-daily prodrug with sustained release of active PTH approved by the European Union as a PTH replacement therapy for the treatment of adults with chronic hypoparathyroidism. Treatment should be initiated and monitored by physicians or qualified healthcare professionals experienced in the diagnosis and management of patients with hypoparathyroidism.3

TransCon PTH met all primary and key secondary endpoints in the Phase 3 Pathway Trial, demonstrating a response rate of 78.7% compared to 4.8% for control (p-value <0.0001) for the primary composite endpoint, and statistically significant improvements compared to control on all key secondary endpoints, which included measures evaluating patient-reported disease symptoms and impacts.9

About Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is an endocrine disease caused by insufficient levels of PTH, the primary regulator of calcium/phosphate balance in the body, acting directly on bone and kidneys and indirectly on intestines. Hypoparathyroidism is considered chronic if it persists >6 months following surgery. Individuals with hypoparathyroidism may experience a range of severe and potentially life-threatening short-term and long-term complications, including neuromuscular irritability, renal complications, extra-skeletal calcifications, and cognitive impairment.9

About TransCon CNP (navepegritide)

TransCon™ CNP (navepegritide) is an investigational long-acting prodrug of C-type natriuretic peptide (CNP), designed to provide continuous exposure of CNP at safe, therapeutic levels, via a single, weekly subcutaneous dose, for the treatment of children with ACH.4

The Phase 2 Accomplish Trial, a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of once-weekly TransCon CNP compared to placebo in prepubertal children with ACH aged 2 to 10 years old, met its primary objectives, and demonstrated that TransCon CNP at 100 µg/kg/week was superior to placebo for the primary efficacy endpoint of annualised growth velocity (AGV) at 52 weeks4.

All 57 randomised children completed the blinded portion of Accomplish and are currently continuing in the open label extension at the 100 μg/kg/week dose4. Ascendis Pharma recently confirmed that these 57 clinical trial patients have all completed one year of treatment with TransCon CNP at 100 µg/kg/week, and announced that TransCon CNP is the first investigational product to demonstrate improvements in health-related quality of life and disease impacts in children with ACH.10

About Achondroplasia

Achondroplasia is the most common genetic form of skeletal dysplasia and resulting disproportionate short stature, caused by a genetic mutation in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). This leads to an imbalance between the stimulatory and inhibitory signaling pathways involved in regulating bone growth. People living with ACH may experience serious complications and comorbidities due to inhibited skeletal development. Complications may include sleep apnoea and respiratory problems, chronic back and leg pain from lower spine impingement, and sudden infant death from compression of the brain stem. Chronic ear infections due to eustachian tube problems can lead to hearing loss and speech delay. Children with ACH may also experience social and emotional challenges.

References

  1. SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin-tcgd) US Prescribing Information.
  2. SKYTROFA (lonapegsomatropin) EU Summary of Product Characteristics.
  3. YORVIPATH (palopegteriparatide) EU Summary of Product Characteristics.
  4. Savarirayan, R, Hoemschemeyer DG, Ljungberg M, et al., Lancet. 2023;65:1–10.
  5. Thornton PS, Maniatis AK, Aghajanova E, et al., J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021;106(11):3184–3195.
  6. Maniatis AK, Nadgir U, Saenger P, et al., Horm Res Paediatr. 2022;95(3):233–243.
  7. Maniatis AK, Casella SJ, Nadgir UM, et al. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022;107(7): e2680–e2689.
  8. Foresight Trial (NCT05171855), https://clinicaltrials.gov/study/NCT05171855.
  9. Khan AA, Rubin MR, Schwarz P, et al. J Bone Miner Res. 2023;38(1):14–25.
  10. Ascendis Pharma A/S, Significant Health and Quality of Life Improvements Achieved in Children with Achondroplasia Treated for One Year with TransCon™ CNP (Navepegritide) at 100 µg/kg/week, Press Release, 20 December 2023, https://investors.ascendispharma.com/news-releases/news-release-details/significant-health-and-quality-life-improvements-achieved.

Media contact:
Rosalia Scampoli
Marketcom PR
Tel: (914) 815-1465
rscampoli@marketcompr.com


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