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VESTAR's VS101 CANCER IMAGING AGENT EUROPEAN MARKETING

Executive Summary

VESTAR's VS101 CANCER IMAGING AGENT EUROPEAN MARKETING will be handled by Mallinckrodt's European division, Mallinckrodt Diagnostica. Sales in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland will be handled by Nobel Medica, a subsidiary of Swedish medical products marketer Nobel Industries, under an agreement announced Jan. 11. VS101 is a gamma imaging agent encapsulated in liposomes which target malignant tumors. The Mallinckrodt subsidiary will also be responsible for marketing in the Middle East and Africa. European marketing "may be possible" in 1988, Vestar said. The company expects applications for European drug approvals to be filed this year, and is looking at all European markets as potential launch pads, a spokesperson said. Commenting on the marketing pacts, Vestar President Roger Crossley, an ex-SmithKline and Lederle research exec, said that Mallinckrodt's "strong marketing presence through the major European markets, combined with Nobel Medica's strength in the Nordic countries, will allow us to maximize the introduction of VS101." Currently in Phase II/III clinical trials, VS101 has been studied in nearly 200 patients, Vestar said. About six U.S. medical centers are currently participating in the study. Vestar intends to wait to select a U.S. marketing firm until the product is closer to the commercialization stage, the spokesperson said. To date, "excellent results have been obtained in breast, lung and head and neck metastases [and] no significant side effects have been observed," Vestar reported. The company said it is stepping up production of the drug "to levels sufficient for support of initial commercial requirements. Current product shelf life has been shown to exceed two years." At a Hambrecht & Quist health care conference in San Francisco Jan. 11-13, Vestar reported 1987 revenues of $ 2.2 mil., up from $ 1.1 mil. in 1986. Of the 1987 total, collaborative research accounted for $ 885,000, contract work represented $ 383,000 and interest income contributed nearly $ 1 mil. The company experienced a loss for the year of $ 3.8 mil. versus $ 3.9 mil. in 1986.
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