Ready and prepared for independence
“Our organisation is well prepared for life as an independent, global specialty pharmaceutical company and a partner of choice for the world’s leading pharma companies.”
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 2016, we once again set ourselves ambitious goals as we strive to make Vifor Pharma an independent, global specialty pharmaceutical company. We are committed to reinforcing our leadership in iron deficiency and further increase the awareness of this very common but often overlooked conditions. Vifor Fresenius Medical Care Renal Pharma (VFMCRP) – our common company with Fresenius Medical Care – is building on its leading position in nephrology. And finally, we are working hard to create an internationally competitive organisation and standalone business.
We are pleased to report substantial progress in achieving all of these goals during 2016. In addition to expanding our leadership in iron deficiency and growing the overall market by optimising the performance of existing products, we have taken a number of steps to find new sources of growth for the future. Most importantly, through the Galenica Group’s acquisition of US company Relypsa Inc., in September 2016, Vifor Pharma has gained a dedicated US sales organisation and worldwide rights to Veltassa®, a potassium binder for the treatment of hyperkalaemia – a potentially life-threatening condition. This breakthrough therapy is the first new medicine in more than 50 years for patients with elevated serum potassium.
net sales increase
million investments in research & development (with Relypsa)
Overall, Vifor Pharma’s net sales rose by 24.8 % to CHF 1,167.0 million. Sales of
our iron product Ferinject® (US brand name: Injectafer®) generated by Vifor Pharma affiliates and partners, once again grew impressively all over the world, totalling CHF 349.5 million (+39.3 %). This remarkable progress was driven by increased sales in the USA and Australia, as well as in major European countries. In addition to enhanced marketing and sales activities for Ferinject®, we also continued to invest in related R & D, including the important EFFECT-HF trial in Chronic Heart Failure patients, with positive results presented at the Congress of the American Heart Association (AHA) in November 2016.
The global rollout of Velphoro® also continued in 2016. This phosphate binder is now approved in 37 countries and launched in 23 countries, including in the USA, Europe’s five largest markets and Japan. Study data from Fresenius Medical Care’s retrospective analysis of databases are helping to demonstrate the benefits of Velphoro® for patients, including a lower pill burden and an increase in the number of patients able to achieve and maintain their target serum phosphorus levels.
During 2016, we continued to form partnerships with leading pharmaceutical and
biotechnology companies. In May 2016, we licensed rights to commercialise CCX168 (international nonproprietary name: Avacopan), a Complement 5a inhibitor ready for Phase III development for orphan and rare renal diseases, from ChemoCentryx. At the end of December 2016, due to the encouraging clinical development of CCX168, VFMCRP decided to exercise its option to acquire from Vifor Pharma the exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialise CCX168. At the same time, Vifor Pharma and Chemo-Centryx broadened the unique kidney health alliance to include the development and commercialisation of CCX140 for renal diseases.
Also in May 2016, we expanded our Erythropoiesis Stimulating Agent (ESA) product portfolio by obtaining marketing rights to Pfizer’s proposed biosimilar epoetin Retacrit™ in the US dialysis market. In addition, VFMCRP obtained rights from OPKO Health to commercialise modified- release calcifediol capsules (US brand name: RAYALDEE®) for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease (CKD) and vitamin D deficiency in Europe, Canada and certain other international markets.
Our organisation is well prepared for life as an independent, global specialty pharmaceutical company and a partner of choice for the world’s leading pharma companies. As we move towards becoming a standalone business during 2017, we continue to improve our operational efficiency and focus resources on the most attractive growth opportunities.
The management team of Vifor Pharma was further strengthened by the appointment of Stefan Schulze as Chief Operating Officer and President of the Executive Committee. Stefan Schulze is currently CEO of VFMCRP and will assume his new responsibilities at the Annual General Meeting of Galenica Ltd. in May 2017.
Our people and products are the two most important pillars of our future success.
With a differentiated and promising product portfolio, growing recognition of our unique capabilities and leadership, and the entrepreneurial spirit and dedication of our employees, I am confident that Vifor Pharma has a bright future. Increasingly our success will be generated globally. But our roots will always be in our home market, Switzerland, with its R & D and production facilities.
I would like to thank all of the employees for their contribution to making 2016 a very successful year. We are all looking forward to the future as an independent, global specialty pharmaceutical company.
Bern, 14 March 2017