SUDA (ASX: SUD) has announced the acquisition of the 20 per cent minority
shareholding in SUDA’s subsidiary company, Malaria Research Company (MRC),
which was owned by UK-based ProtoPharma (PPL) Ltd and its parent London Pharma (LPL).
MRC owns the rights to SUDA’s novel sublingual anti-malarial spray, ArTiMist. As a result of this acquisition, SUDA will own 100 per cent of the ArTiMist asset with no further payment or royalty obligations to PPL.
PPL is selling its 20 per cent stake in MRC to SUDA for A$1.2 million. This payment is in full and final settlement of all outstanding liabilities between the two companies.
In addition, the company said, PPL and LPL have agreed not to compete with MRC's ArTiMist spray.
SUDA said the acquisition is an important step towards its objective to commercialise ArTiMist through a collaboration or trade sale.
SUDA originally licensed commercial rights to ArTiMist for certain territories from PPL in
2006. Under a subsequent agreement, which was signed in November 2013 between
SUDA and PPL, all of the intellectual property and global rights in relation to ArTiMist
were put into the newly incorporated Australian company, MRC.
SUDA owned 80 per cent of MRC with PPL owning the balance. Both companies retained obligations in relation to the development, registration and commercialisation of ArTiMist.
SUDA said since taking control of the development of ArTiMist in November 2013, it has taken significant steps forward, including:
- setting up a Clinical Advisory Board;
- initiating discussions with the Medicines for Malaria Venture, the World Health
Organisation, the Gates Foundation and other philanthropic groups;
- progressing partnership discussions with the pharmaceutical industry;
- expanding the market opportunity for ArTiMist to include its use in the prereferral
setting of malaria; and,
- resolving quality issues that had been the responsibility of PPL.
The payment to PPL is being made from SUDA’s existing cash reserves.
“We are delighted to be buying out ProtoPharma’s minority stake in ArTiMist which
brings to a close a tenuous relationship,” noted Mr Stephen Carter, Chief Executive
Officer of SUDA.
“The purchase followed a request from ProtoPharma who wanted to refocus all their resources into non-malarial products and SUDA was able to negotiate favourable terms.
"Simplification of the ownership structure of ArTiMist alleviates a variety of issues including tax implications on the commercialisation of the project.
"Furthermore, the acquisition eliminates any counterparty risk; gives SUDA full control of
commercial negotiations without referring to ProtoPharma; and, importantly, ensures
that SUDA receives 100% of anticipated deal proceeds.”