Testosterone supplement gains US approval
by Ian McIlwraith
Doctor prescribed Testosterone therapy for adult men over 35.
THE biotech company Acrux is on its way to sharing in milestone and royalty payments which could hit $1 billion thanks to a growing market of middle-aged men who still want to be able to have sex.
Acrux received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration yesterday for its Axiron testosterone supplement therapy, which it hopes to be selling by next April.
Shares in the group briefly touched $3.62, double their price less than five months ago, before closing at $3.36, a 28¢ gain on the day.
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Patient investors can also expect to receive their first dividend early next year – which, thanks to the company’s status as a pooled development fund, is likely to be free of tax.
The chief executive, Richard Treagus, said the company would have $145 million in cash reserves after receiving the $US87 million payment due from its marketing partner, the US giant Eli Lilly, because of the FDA approval.
That cash would be equivalent to almost 90¢ a share, although the chairman, Ross Dobinson, warned that the company still needs to keep cash to fund its other product development activities, and will have to allow for tax liabilities.
”You will have to wait until next week for a more definitive answer,” he said.
Acrux would also be conscious that its cash, and potential royalty payments, might attract predators – or even a takeover offer from Lilly.
Mr Treagus said Axiron’s point of difference was its unique delivery system – an underarm spray. Acrux is also seeking to patent that method, which would extend its copyright protection until 2026.
Its two largest potential rivals in the US, he said, use gel applications which means they are easily transferred to others by hand and have strong smells.
The market leader, Abbott Laboratories’ AndroGel, carries a warning on its website that reads: ”Signs of puberty that are not expected have happened in young children who were accidentally exposed to testosterone through contact with men using AndroGel.”