updated 4/13/2011 1:17:41 PM ET 2011-04-13T17:17:41

SAN DIEGO, April 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apricus Biosciences, Inc. ("Apricus Bio") (Nasdaq:APRI) announced today its filing with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration ("FDA") requesting orphan drug designation for RayVa, the Company's drug candidate indicated for the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon in patients with systemic sclerosis.

Raynaud's phenomenon is a condition in which the blood supply to fingers or toes is suddenly reduced. With less blood, the skin turns pale or white, and the fingers or toes become cold and numb.

The condition occurs in 4-15% of Americans, and is seven times more common in women than men. In many cases, Raynaud's phenomenon is caused by cold or emotional distress, and is mostly an inconvenience. However, it also can be caused by other diseases, such as systemic sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder. Patients who develop Raynaud's phenomenon as a consequence of systemic sclerosis can have severe complications. For example, the skin, subcutaneous tissues and muscles of the fingers and toes may weaken and shrivel, and in some cases, the fingers can develop ulcers. In extreme cases, the ulcers lead to gangrene, resulting in the loss of fingertips.

RayVa is designed to treat the condition by increasing the blood flow to the fingers and toes. One component of RayVa is the already approved drug, alprostadil, which has been clinically proven to boost blood flow. To create RayVa, alprostadil is combined with Apricus Bio's clinically-validated, proprietary NexACT® technology—a substance that temporary loosens the space between cells, allowing drugs to penetrate the skin. RayVa is designed to be applied as a cream to fingers or toes, delivering alprostadil directly to the area of need, in order to stimulate blood flow. Vitaros™, which also combines alprostadil with the NexACT® technology, has already been approved in Canada to treat erectile dysfunction.

"At Apricus Bio, we are continually expanding the potential uses for NexACT® and other active drugs such as alprostadil, while also attempting to bring new treatments to patients with unmet medical needs," noted Bassam Damaj, Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Apricus Bio. "Our orphan drug filing for RayVa is the second such orphan drug filing we have made in the last several years and represents another milestone for the Company." In August 2008, the FDA granted orphan drug status for Apricus Bio's proprietary drug PrevOnco for the treatment of liver cancer.

The FDA's Orphan Drug Designation Program is designed to spur the development of drugs to treat rare medical diseases. A company whose product is granted orphan drug status receives, among other benefits, seven years exclusive commercialization rights for the treatment of the disease and an expedited review process.

About Apricus Biosciences, Inc.

Apricus Bio, a San Diego based revenue-generating pharmaceutical company, has leveraged the flexibility of its clinically-validated NexACT® drug delivery technology to enable multi-route administration of new and improved compounds across numerous therapeutic classes.

Revenues and growth are driven from out-licensing of this technology for the development and commercialization of such compounds to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. In addition, the Company is seeking to monetize its existing product pipeline, including its first product, Vitaros®, approved in Canada for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, which is currently expected to be available on the Canadian market in 2011, as well as compounds in development from pre-clinical through Phase III, currently focused on Sexual Dysfunction, Oncology, Dermatology, Autoimmune, Pain, Anti-Infectives, Diabetes and Cosmeceuticals, among others.

For further information on Apricus Bio, visit http://www.apricusbio.com , and for information on its subsidiaries please visit www.nexmedusa.com or www.bio-quant.com . You can also receive information at http://twitter.com/apricusbio and http://facebook.com/apricusbio .

Apricus Bio's Forward-Looking Statement Safe Harbor

Statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, as amended: with the exception of the historical information contained in this release, the matters described herein contain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that may individually or mutually impact the matters herein described for a variety of reasons that are outside the control of the Company, including, but not limited to, its ability to further develop products and product candidates such as RayVa, to successfully commercialize such products and product candidates and to achieve its other development, commercialization and financial goals. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained herein. Readers are urged to read the risk factors set forth in the Company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K, subsequent quarterly reports filed on Form 10-Q and other filings made with the SEC. Copies of these reports are available from the SEC's website or without charge from the Company.

CONTACT: Apricus Biosciences, Inc.
         Edward Cox, V.P.
         Investor Relations & Corporate Development, Apricus Bio, Inc.
         (858) 848-4249
         ecox@apricusbio.com
         
         Apricus Bio Investor Relations
         Paula Schwartz
         Rx Communications Group, LLC
         (917) 322-2216
         pschwartz@rxir.com

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