BEDMINSTER, N.J., DUBLIN, Ireland, and MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 31, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Amarin Corporation plc (Nasdaq:AMRN) and Kowa Pharmaceuticals America, Inc., two biopharmaceutical companies focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutics to improve cardiovascular health, today announced an agreement to co-promote Amarin's flagship product, Vascepa ® (icosapent ethyl) capsules, in the United States. Vascepa is approved for use in the United States as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe (≥ 500 mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia. In bringing together two companies focused on the primary care and cardiovascular health communities, the agreement is designed to benefit a greater number of patients.
The agreement provides for the near-term expansion of Vascepa promotional efforts through use of Kowa Pharmaceuticals America's sales force to substantially increase both the number of sales targets reached and the frequency of sales calls on existing sales targets. Under the agreement, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America will employ its sales force of approximately 250 sales representatives to co-promote Vascepa in the United States augmenting Amarin's approximately 130 sales representatives and more than doubling Amarin's current sales detail frequency through primary and secondary details. Kowa Pharmaceuticals America's sales force is expected to begin its Vascepa promotional efforts in May 2014 to its existing target audience of primary care physicians and cardiologists.
Kowa Pharmaceuticals America has a successful track record of launching and commercializing drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease in the United States, including its flagship statin product, LIVALO ® (pitavastatin). Kowa Pharmaceuticals America's sales team calls on many of the same physicians who are current and potential prescribers of Vascepa. The planned expansion in Vascepa promotional effort under the co-promotion agreement is expected to build on the significant base of progress Amarin has made and to help expand the use of Vascepa for patients in need.Under the agreement, Kowa Pharmaceuticals America will pay for certain incremental costs associated with the use of its sales force that are associated with the commercialization of Vascepa, such as sample costs and costs for promotional and marketing materials. Each party has agreed to deliver specified minimal primary detail equivalents and spend specified minimal amounts on sample, promotional and marketing costs. Amarin's commitments under the agreement are within its commercialization plans prior to the agreement. Amarin will continue to control marketing of the product and recognize all revenue from sales of Vascepa. Amarin will compensate Kowa Pharmaceuticals America with a co-promotion fee based on a percentage of Vascepa gross margins that increase during the agreement's term, from the high single digits in 2014 to the low twenty percent levels in 2018, subject to certain adjustments. The initial term of the agreement extends through 2018.