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Aequus Pharmaceuticals posts sharp rise in revenue in 2018 as it broadens its drug portfolio

CEO Doug Janzen described 2018 as the Canadian pharmaceutical company’s “strongest year to date”

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Looking ahead, Aequus intends to continue to position itself as a key partner for international companies looking to access the Canadian marketplace

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc (CVE:AQS) (OTCQB:AQSZF) reported a sharp rise in revenue in 2018 as it expanded its portfolio of pharmaceutical products and extended an agreement with the pharmaceutical company Sandoz.

In a statement, CEO Doug Janzen described 2018 as the Canadian pharmaceutical company’s “strongest year to date”.

“We achieved quarter over quarter revenue growth in all four quarters of the year for our commercial business, with Q4 revenue surpassing C$500,000 for the first time before a one-time adjustment was applied,” Janzen said.

“Aequus continued to grow its product portfolio with a new product launch in June, licensed a new preservative free prescription ophthalmic therapeutic to the portfolio, extended an agreement with a key existing partner Sandoz, formed key collaborations in the medical cannabis space, and assembled a strategic advisory board in ophthalmology,” he added.

READ: Aequus Pharmaceuticals has the right Rx to bring new drugs to the Canadian market

Financials in focus

Last year, the pharmaceutical group reported full-year revenue of C$1.4 million, a jump of 24% from the $1.1 million it recorded in 2017. Stripping out a one-time adjustment due to expired stock, its revenue in the fourth quarter came to $506,482.

Aequus takes medications that are already available in the US or elsewhere and licenses or acquires the Canadian rights, then takes the clinical data that supported that approval and works with Health Canada, Canada’s national health system, to get them approved and commercialized in Canada.

On its list of key advances in 2018 was its launch last June of the Zepto Precision Pulse Capsuleotomy System - an FDA-approved precision Pulse technology that offers benefits over traditional surgical techniques to remove cataracts – as a new product in Canada.

Last July, Aequus also extended until June of 2021 and improved the terms of its promotional service agreement with Sandoz for Vistitan, a prostaglandin approved as a treatment for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma.

In other news, it signed a term sheet with a European partner in December for an undisclosed preservative-free therapeutic in ophthalmology. The therapeutic is a prescription product, which has already received a seal of approval in some European countries.

Separately, Aequus also forged a collaboration with CannaRoyalty Corp to advance a suite of cannabis-based therapies targeting neurological disorders in clinical trials in Canada. And the company also formed a strategic advisory board in ophthalmology to assist in evaluating ophthalmology pipeline opportunities.

In 2018, the company’s net loss shrank to $2.8 million from a $3.88 million loss in 2017. It also closed $1.875 million of equity financing last year.

Eyeing future profits

Looking ahead, Aequus intends to continue to position itself as a key partner for international companies looking to access the Canadian marketplace.

The company is still working towards winning approval for its epilepsy drug Topiramate XR in Canada. And last year, it also completed a pre-IND meeting with the FDA regarding its AQS1303 transdermal patch for pregnancy nausea. US regulators delivered positive feedback and offered accelerated approval for the drug.

“This approval pathway will allow Aequus to utilize clinical data from the approved oral form of the product, thereby reducing both timelines and costs associated with clinical trials,” Aequus said in its statement.  

Aequus has grown its pipeline to include several products in ophthalmology and transplant, as well as a development-stage pipeline in neurology and psychiatry.

Aequus shares closed up 8% to hit US$0.20 on Wednesday.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected] 

Quick facts: Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc

Price: 0.13 CAD

TSX-V:AQS
Market: TSX-V
Market Cap: $10.46 m
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