Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCRX) and Aratana Therapeutics Inc. today announced a global licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension for animal health indications. Under the agreement, Aratana will develop and seek approval for the use of the product in veterinary surgery to manage postsurgical pain, focusing initially on developing the product for cats, dogs and other companion animals.
Bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension is approved for human use in the United States for the management of postsurgical pain and is currently marketed by Pacira under the name EXPAREL ®. EXPAREL is a non-opioid local anesthetic, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2011 for administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia. EXPAREL utilizes DepoFoam ®, a proprietary delivery technology utilized in several Pacira products approved for human use. Veterinary development of the product may address the estimated 33 million surgical procedures performed each year on companion animals in the U.S. 1
Steven St. Peter, M.D., chief executive officer of Aratana Therapeutics, stated, “Given the rapid and widespread implementation of EXPAREL by surgeons performing human procedures, we are confident that adoption of this innovative product by veterinary surgeons will be equally impressive. The global companion animal health market remains significantly underserved despite the more than 150 million companion animals in the U.S. 2 – many of whom will undergo surgical procedures. We believe this product fits nicely into our growing portfolio of companion animal therapeutics and will be welcomed by veterinarians committed to providing their patients with the best care available.”
“The management of postsurgical pain in animal health settings represents a large and growing market for our EXPAREL product,” said David Stack, president and chief executive officer of Pacira. “We continue to see EXPAREL adoption in a wide range of surgical settings, the generation of positive Phase 4 data and considerable sales growth during our launch year. We also have recently completed the installation of our expanded manufacturing suite – these milestones all strongly position the program for a strategic partnership. Given the Aratana team’s combined decades of veterinary drug development experience, we believe Aratana is the ideal partner for maximizing the product’s value in the companion animal health market.”