Gensia Inc. will market and promote its tissue-protectingcompound Arasine itself, the company announced Tuesdayafter discussions with its partner, Marion Merrell Dow Inc.
Gensia of San Diego has a 3-year-old technology option andlicense agreement with MMD to develop oral adenosineregulatory agents (ARAs) for cardiovascular andcerebrovascular disease.
MMD also has the right to negotiate a co-promotion agreementfor intravenously adminstered ARAs, including Arasine. MMD"has indicated that it would be prepared to enter intodiscussions for a co-promotion agreement if Gensia should laterdecide that it wishes to have a co-promotion partner," Gensiasaid.
While declining to specify the nature of the discussions,spokeswoman Elizabeth Gard said Gensia envisions promotingArasine for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery in theU.S. and Western Europe with 50 to 100 sales representatives.The surgery is performed at some 900 U.S. hospitals and 300centers in Western Europe, making it easy to efficiently targetsurgeons and anesthesiologists to purchase the drug, which isdesigned to protect against tissue damage due to impededblood flow.
Arasine apparently makes tissue starved for oxygen producemore adenosine, which forms the basis of energy metabolism.
Gensia (NASDAQ:GNSA) has begun a third Phase III trial ofArasine in the U.S. and Canada that may enroll up to 1,000patients and should be completed during the first half of 1994.
The company filed a new drug application (NDA) at the end of1992 for Arasine in CABG, but undertook the third trial in casemore data are necessary for approval. The company's EuropeanPhase III trial had not shown a statistically significant effect onperioperative myocardial infarction.
However, analysts bullish on the stock are confident that thedrug works.
"There's no question that it works, and works in a way no otherdrug does," said Rick Stover of Stover Haley Noyes in Stamford,Conn. "It effectively reduces damage from ischemia."
In his January model, he targeted revenues from Arasineclimbing to $165 million in 1997 in CABG and $535 million fornon-cardiac surgery.
Analyst Gregory Brown of Vector Securities International Inc.in Deerfield, Ill., who is also a thoracic surgeon, said the drug isattractive because "I don't like to subject my patients to anymore risk than I induce by pulling my knife down thesternum."
The company's cost/benefit analysis is not completed yet, andGard said she could not predict when it would be released.
Marketing Arasine single-handedly "will maximize long-termvalue for our shareholders," she said.
Gensia's stock closed at $21.75 a share on Tuesday, up 13 cents.
-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor
(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.