Almirall-AB Biotics deal promises use of pharmacogenetics can reduce public healthcare system costs

Global pharmaceutical company Almirall has reached an agreement with AB-Biotics to enter the biotech company’s share capital listed on the Spanish Alternative Investment Market (MAB). Almirall’s operation aims to enhance its investments in innovation through pharmacogenetics and personalised medicine, one of the specialist areas of AB-Biotics.

The deal will become effective after the subscription by Almirall of 465,115 shares from AB-Biotics, at a value of 2.15 euros per share, as part of the share capital increase that AB- Biotics currently holds open in the MAB. It guarantees a minimum shareholding of 5%. This capital will go towards financing studies and research programmes in AB-Biotics’s genetics area, and the international expansion of products in this area.

“Almirall becoming part of the share capital of AB-Biotics will strengthen the commercial expansion of the pharmacogenetics tests developed by the biotech firm,” Almirall said in a press release.

Both companies will be working together on the promotion and commercialisation of Neurofarmagen in Spain from 2013. It is a genetic test that uses DNA extracted from a saliva sample to enable the doctor to identify a patient’s predilection to respond to the most commonly used active principles in the treatment of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

Pharmacogenetics complements Almirall’s innovative project portfolio, which is currently focused on respiratory diseases, gastrointestinal disorders and dermatology.

The Human Genome project brought about the discovery that there are millions of tiny differences in people’s DNA, some of which affect a person’s predisposition to suffer from certain diseases and also how a patient will respond to medicines,” Almirall explained. “Pharmacogenetics is the branch of genetics that studies how genetic variations or polymorphisms affect a patient’s response to medicine. Given that the response to medicine can be conditioned up to 85% by genetic factors, the use of pharmacogenetics testing for prescribing medication enables the doctor to enhance treatment efficacy and reduce side effects for the patient, as well as reducing costs for the healthcare system.”

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