CORAL GABLES, Fla., June 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. (Nasdaq:CPRX), a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel prescription drugs targeting rare (orphan) neuromuscular and neurological diseases, today provided an update on its progress with its lead investigational product, FIRDAPSE TM. "Over the past six months, we have made great strides in our advancement of Firdapse for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS). We have recently achieved several important milestones in our development plan, and we therefore feel that this is an appropriate time to report our progress to investors and other stakeholders," said Patrick J. McEnany, Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. Firdapse Progress Report To Date: In October 2012, Catalyst acquired the North American rights to Firdapse, a proprietary form of amifampridine phosphate (3-4 diaminopyridine or 3,4-DAP), from BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. ("BioMarin"). As part of that transaction, BioMarin made a $5 million strategic investment in Catalyst to help fund the development of Firdapse. Firdapse was approved in December 2009 by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS), a rare and sometimes fatal autoimmune disease characterized by muscle weakness. Firdapse has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, (FDA) for the treatment of LEMS, making the product eligible to obtain seven-year marketing exclusivity if Catalyst is the first pharmaceutical company to obtain approval of an NDA for its formulation of amifampridine. Catalyst has recently completed the following activities in the development of Firdapse for LEMS:
1. Completed transfers from BioMarin of the active IND in the U.S. and Clinical Trial Applications in France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain to Catalyst sponsorship; 2. Retained a Clinical Research Organization (CRO) with a global footprint and experience in the management of clinical trials of investigational drug products for the treatment of neurological diseases to execute the Phase III trial for Catalyst; 3. Hired an experienced Vice President of Clinical Operations to provide day-to-day oversight of the Phase III trial; 4. Engaged a regulatory consultant with relevant FDA experience to conduct background research and provide discussions and opinions bearing on the regulatory aspects of the company's drug development program for Firdapse; 5. Completed transfer of the management and oversight of the ongoing Phase III registration trial from BioMarin to Catalyst and our CRO (For further details on this trial, please go to: www.clinicaltrials.gov ; Search "amifampridine phosphate"); 6. In addition to the initial 7 sites active at the time of acquisition, we have identified, are contracting with, and obtaining IRB/Ethics Committee approvals at, 18 prequalified sites with approximately 75 prospective LEMS patients currently under treatment located in 9 countries and the U.S. to participate in our clinical trial:
7. Conducted a Data Monitoring Committee meeting, at which continuation of the trial under the present protocol was recommended; and 8. Retained a commercial operations consultant to assist in development of a strategic plan and to identify pre-launch activities that will be required for a successful launch of Firdapse upon FDA approval.
- 4 additional trial sites have been initiated and are now ready to screen potential trial subjects;
- we expect that more than half of remaining trial sites will be initiated by the end of July; and
- we expect that all new trial sites will be initiated before the end of September;