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29 March, 2021 - 10:18 By Tony Quested

Acacia Pharma closing in on potentially explosive growth in US

Cambridge business Acacia Pharma is knocking on the door of dominance in the US with its treatments for surgical emergencies, other invasive procedures and cancer chemo setbacks.

The UK company’s results for the year ended December 31 reflect heavy investment in their progress on both sides of the Atlantic but are secondary to the position into which Acacia has manoeuvered itself in America.

CEO Mike Bolinder is upbeat as Acacia reaches a potentially lucrative commercial crossroads. He says: “Our vision to become a leading US hospital pharmaceutical company is on the road to being realised. The US approval and launch in the last year of two major new products in BARHEMSYS and BYFAVO is a tremendous achievement, practically unprecedented for a company of our size. 

“Our early progress on formulary adoption for BARHEMSYS reflects the unmet need that exists in PONV and strong underlying demand for our product, our outstanding and extremely experienced commercial team and salesforce, as well as our well-constructed, well-executed launch plans. 

“During 2021, we aim to continue gaining formulary access in our initial targeted accounts, as this will lay the strong foundation for significant revenue pull-through from 2022 onwards.

“Acacia Pharma is now at an exciting stage in its path to long-term commercial success and we intend to continue to resolutely execute our plans as we bring these important new treatments to patients and at the same time build further significant value for our shareholders.”

Acacia is poised to exploit long term, multibillion dollar US markets; its infrastructure across The Pond has been successfully built and is fully operational. It has ramped headcount to address heavy demand led by US hospital accounts.

For the record, the loss after tax for the year rose to $33.5 million from $22.8m year-on-year. The operating loss increased by $8.5m to $30.9m, reflecting the investment in its US commercial infrastructure and product launch preparations.

Sales and marketing expenses of $19.4m (2019: $14m) reflected increased activities leading up to the planned launch of BARHEMSYS and BYFAVO. Cash and equivalents at December 31 had increased to $46.7m from 2019’s $17m.

The balance sheet was strengthened through a €20m equity investment from Cosmo, a €25m loan from Cosmo and a €25m equity financing last August; additional equity financing was undertaken in February with gross proceeds of €27m.

Bolinder said the early success with hospital formulary access for BARHEMSYS had confirmed the directors’ belief in the strong product profile and compelling health economic arguments in favour of its adoption and use. 

“This is an important first step to building a solid and growing sales platform for the product,” he said, adding: “While it remains early days in the launch of BYFAVO, the directors believe that it too offers significant medical and commercial value that will be viewed favourably by formulary committees and payors, as well as doctors and patients.”

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