Apricus Biosciences and Neopharm Group Sign Licensing Agreement for Vitaros(R) in Israel for up to $4.35 Million, Plus Royalties

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 14, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apricus Biosciences, Inc. ("Apricus Bio") (Nasdaq:APRI), announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement granting Neopharm Group ("Neopharm") the exclusive rights to market and sell Vitaros®, Apricus Bio's treatment for erectile dysfunction ("ED") and, when and if available, its formulation for the treatment of premature ejaculation ("PE"), in Israel and the Palestinian Territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

On November 12, 2010, Apricus Bio announced that Health Canada had approved Vitaros® for marketing as the first topical treatment for ED in that country. The application for approval to market Vitaros® for ED in Israel is scheduled to be filed in the first half of 2011 and later, in the Palestinian Territories.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Neopharm has been granted exclusive rights in Israel and the Palestinian Territories to commercialize and market Vitaros® under the Vitaros® trademark for ED and, when and if available, Apricus Bio's formulation for PE. In return, Apricus Bio is entitled to receive up to a total of $4.35 million in up-front, regulatory and sales milestone payments for the products. Further, over the life of the agreement, Apricus Bio will receive tiered, double-digit royalties based on Neopharm's sales of the products. 

Commenting on today's announcement, Dr. Bassam Damaj, President and Chief Executive Officer of Apricus Bio, stated, "We are delighted to be able to announce yet another licensing and commercialization agreement for our first product, Vitaros®, that utilizes our proprietary NexACT® technology. Since December 22, 2010, we have closed three licensing and commercialization transactions covering 14 countries. We also continue to talk with numerous other potential partners to increase the number of these transactions and to broaden the potential market for Vitaros®."

David Fuhrer, Chairman of the Neopharm Group, commented, "I am confident that our well established expertise and heritage in partnership with innovative biopharmaceutical companies will make Vitaros® a success in Israel. We see Vitaros® as an excellent addition to our group's strong and growing portfolio of innovative products."

About Vitaros® and the ED Market

According to Neopharm, the ED market in Israel and the Palestinian Territories is dominated by oral PDE5 treatments. However, there is still a need for new, safe and effective treatments, especially for those patients who cannot or do not respond well to oral medication. Vitaros® differs from oral PDE5 drugs like Viagra®, Cialis® and Levitra® in two ways. First, it is applied directly to the penis as a cream, instead of as a pill that is absorbed systemically. The topical application helps to reduce side effects and enables men who cannot take, or do not do well with the existing drugs, to have a patient-friendly alternative.

Second, Vitaros® operates by a different biochemical mechanism than oral ED medications, and causes erections to occur in a more localized fashion and more quickly when compared to oral treatments. Vitaros® contains a previously marketed ED drug, known by the chemical name of alprostadil. When absorbed through the skin, alprostadil, a vasodilator, directly boosts blood flow, thereby causing an erection. Clinical studies have shown that Vitaros® works on average in approximately 15 minutes, compared to a reported onset time of 30 minutes or more for oral medications indicated for the treatment of ED. The side effects reported were localized and transient.

Alprostadil is currently marketed as an injectable drug. Apricus Bio incorporated alprostadil with its NexACT® delivery technology, resulting in a rapid and efficient topical delivery of the drug into the penis. In clinical studies, Vitaros® worked in patients suffering from mild to severe ED, including men who did not respond to Viagra®. Viagra® is a registered trademark of Pfizer, Inc.; Cialis® is a registered trademark of Lilly, USA; Levitra®, is a registered trademark of Bayer A.G.; Vitaros® is a registered trademark in Israel held by Apricus Bio through its subsidiary NexMed International Limited, and in the U.S. held by Warner Chilcott Company.

About Neopharm Group

Established in 1941, Neopharm Group is one of Israel's leading providers of innovative integrated solutions across the pharmaceutical, medical and healthcare markets. Neopharm has a long heritage of collaboration with leading multinational corporations and is positioned as the partner-of-choice and one-stop-shop for multinational corporations seeking to enter or expend their business in the Israeli healthcare market. The group has expertise and strengths in marketing of pharmaceuticals and biological products including niche and orphan drugs, hospital products, vaccines, medical devices, diagnostic products, medical and scientific equipment, OTC/CH products, medical services and home therapy – all of which enabled the group to grow and become the second largest provider to the Israeli healthcare market with annual revenues exceeding $300M, and 600 employees. The Neopharm Group is headquartered in Petach Tiqva, Israel. www.neopharmisrael.com

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. Future growth is expected to be driven through out-licensing of this technology for the development and commercialization of such compounds to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, worldwide, as well as by monetizing its existing product pipeline, including its approved drug erectile dysfunction treatment, Vitaros®, in addition to 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 and its subsidiaries, visit

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, timing for seeking foreign approvals for Vitaros® for erectile dysfunction and for a chemical formulation similar to Vitaros® for premature ejaculation, timing and success of the commercial launch of Vitaros® in Italy, The Gulf Countries and part of the Middle East and in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the potential size of the market, the ability to develop and commercialize the Company's products on its own and with partners and the ability to meet its milestones. 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 Neopharm Group, Israel bd@neopharmisrael.com +972 3 9373783 Uri Goren, Spokesman and PR Manager uri.g@neopharmgroup.com +972-52-7444680