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Amryt Pharma PLC

Fastnet Equity PLC unveils transformational drugs deal

Amryt Pharmaceuticals will join the London market in a deal that values it at £29.6mln. A share placing, meanwhile, will bring in £10mln to be used to develop the company’s lead treatment for a rare skin disorder.

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Amryt is a specialist in orphan drugs.

A drug company with big aspirations and, importantly, a product already out on the market, looks set to make its AIM debut by reversing into listed investment firm Fastnet Equity PLC (LON:FAST).

Amryt Pharmaceuticals will join the London market in a deal that values it at £29.6mln.

A share placing, meanwhile, will bring in £10mln that will be used to develop the company’s lead treatment for a rare skin disorder.

In a complicated series of transactions Amryt, as well as listing, is acquiring two firms with drugs and drug candidates that will form the bedrock of this speciality pharma business.

Chaired by Harry Stratford, founder of FTSE 100 giant Shire Plc (LON:SHP), who set also set up ProStrakan, Amryt has the management expertise and boardroom experience of a much larger company.

The team will be led by Joseph Wiley, who has more than 20 years’ experience in healthcare investment, while Michele Bellandi, who helped run Shire’s European arm, will be chief commercial officer.

Former top-rated City healthcare analyst, James Culverwell, and Ray Stafford, previously the marketing chief of Forest Labs, are among the non-executive directors.

Amryt is aiming to carve a niche in the area of orphan drugs that tackle-hard-to-treat illnesses with globally small patient groups, but significant revenue-generating potential.

Orphan designation often means the product can be fast-tracked to market – usually at a fraction of the cost of developing medication destined for the mass market.

For more on Amryt and its key product click here.

And as they are niche areas where there are no current treatments, firms are often allowed to charge more for a breakthrough new product. 

As mentioned earlier, the reverse into Fastnet will coincide with Amryt’s acquisition of two fledgling drug developers – SomPharmaceuticals and Birken.

The latter, a German firm, has a product that is already approved in Europe called Episalvan, which is currently used to accelerate the healing of partial thickness wounds in adults.

Clinical trials indicate it has the potential to help patients with orphan condition epidermolysis bullosa (EB).

This is a rare and distressing genetic disorder affecting young children which makes the skin very fragile.

Episalvan has been awarded orphan drug designation (ODD) in the US and EU for EB and the market for this indication alone is estimated to be US$1.5bn.

The cash raised from the share placing will fund a phase III clinical trial in EB sufferers.

SomPharmaceuticals, meanwhile, brings with it far earlier stage orphan candidates for acromegaly - a disorder that leads to the production of too much growth hormone - and Cushing’s disease, a pituitary gland problem.

CEO-elect Wiley said:  “Today’s announcement is an important step towards realising the company’s vision of building a speciality pharmaceutical company focused on best in class treatments for orphan diseases.

“We are focused on building a portfolio of differentiated medicines, in therapeutic areas where there is large unmet medical need and which offer significant commercial potential.”

Quick facts: Amryt Pharma PLC

Price: £0.12

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £5.67 m
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