LONDON ¿ Vanguard Medica Group plc reduced its losses by 25 percent in the year ended Dec. 31, 1998, as a result of its North American deal with Elan Corp. on the commercialization of the acute migraine treatment frovatriptan. Initial payments of US$17.5 million, received in the fourth quarter of 1998, pushed turnover for the year to #4.58 million (US$7.4 million), up from #1.55 million in 1997. The company, based in Guildford, Surrey, reported a loss of #15.97 million, down from #21.16 million in 1997.
Since the end of the year, Vanguard has filed a new drug application for frovatriptan and a pan-European marketing authorization application with France as the reference country, which CEO Robert Mansfield said was ¿a major accomplishment for a company of Vanguard¿s size.¿
The U.S. launch of frovatriptan, under the name Miguard, is expected early in 2000. Discussions are proceeding to find partners in Europe and elsewhere. Frovatriptan was licensed-in from SmithKline Beecham plc, of London, which elected not to market the drug in May 1998. The Phase III data showed a longer duration of action and a lower rate of headache recurrence rate for frovatriptan than for any other triptan.
Vanguard said the deal with Elan has ¿significantly advanced¿ the potential cash flow compared to the previous profit sharing agreement with SmithKline Beecham. ¿This deal constitutes a turning point for Vanguard, as almost all of our development costs for this project will be recovered from the prospective milestone payments alone.¿
Development spending fell slightly, to #21.06 million, from #22.4 million, mainly due to lower expenditure on frovatriptan as development was completed. Sixteen percent of the total spending was on compounds which Vanguard subsequently dropped.
The company had #48.29 million in cash as of Dec. 31, down from #59.35 million at the end of 1997.