OPKO Health Acquires Lead NK-1 Compounds from Schering-Plough Corporation
News Oct 19, 2009
Rolapitant, the lead product, recently completed Phase II clinical testing for prevention of nausea and vomiting related to cancer chemotherapy and surgery, and other indications. Phase 1 clinical testing has also been initiated for a second compound in the same class. It is anticipated that these compounds may have advantages over presently marketed products.
"We are pleased to acquire these assets from Schering-Plough," said Phillip Frost, M.D., OPKO's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "They will fit in well with our strategy to create a portfolio of important products that will bring significant value to patients and shareholders."
In connection with its pending merger with Merck & Co., Inc., Schering-Plough determined to divest its oral and intravenous formulations of rolapitant and other assets in its NK-1 program. Closing of the transaction between OPKO and Schering-Plough is subject to completion of the merger.
NK-1 receptors are highly concentrated in the brain and are also found in other tissues of the body. Activation of NK-1 receptors leads to the release of neurotransmitters and other signaling molecules that play a central role in controlling nausea and vomiting and other basic functions. Jamie Freedman, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Research & Development at OPKO commented, "The profile of rolapitant and the positive clinical data generated so far are very promising. We believe rolapitant has the potential to be a best-in-class product for preventing nausea and vomiting in the post-surgical setting or induced by cancer chemotherapy drugs. We will also be exploring various other uses of rolapitant."