COPENHAGEN, Denmark, April 24, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ALK (ALK-B.CO / OMX: ALK B / AKABY / AKBLF) and China-based specialty pharmaceutical company Eddingpharm, today announced that they have agreed a collaboration that will expand ALK's presence in China. Under the agreement, Eddingpharm will handle the sales and distribution of ALK's marketed products in China, while ALK will support Eddingpharm with medical and scientific expertise. ALK will maintain a local organisation in China. The agreement covers ALK's diagnostic skin prick test, Soluprick (r) SQ, for house dust mite allergy, and the subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) product, Alutard SQ (r), also for house dust mite allergy. The collaboration will run for an initial seven years, provided certain performance targets are met. Jens Bager, President and CEO of ALK said: "ALK's affiliate in China, set up in 2004, has consistently delivered strong year-on-year growth for the company. This collaboration will allow us to accelerate our expansion in China by securing a threefold increase in sales force size, and allowing ALK's products to benefit from Eddingpharm's established position in respiratory medicine." Eddingpharm founder and CEO Xin Ni said: "Allergic disease is an increasing health concern in China, and its link to conditions such as asthma is becoming more widely recognised. Allergy immunotherapy products are a strong fit for Eddingpharm's existing respiratory franchise and we look forward to a long and successful collaboration with ALK." Under the terms of the new agreement, Eddingpharm will make an upfront payment to ALK to secure exclusive rights in China to Alutard SQ (r) and Soluprick (r). Around 200 million people are estimated to suffer from allergies in China, and the number is increasing all the time. House dust mite allergy is the most prevalent allergy, affecting more than 100 million people. Although the allergy immunotherapy market in China is still small, it is growing quickly and ALK sees attractive growth opportunities for the future. In parallel with the Eddingpharm collaboration, ALK intends to initiate a locally-based clinical development programme for its house dust mite SLIT-tablet with the longer term goal of registering and launching the product in the country.