Biotech company Pharming Group NV ("Pharming" or "the Company") (NYSE Euronext: PHARM) and Aslan Group A.S. from Istanbul, Turkey ("Aslan") today announced that they have signed a full licensing agreement to further develop, manufacture and market Pharming's human lactoferrin product (hLF). Earlier in 2008, the companies concluded a commercialization and supply agreement for the marketing and distribution of food or food supplements containing Pharming's hLF.
Under the terms of this new agreement, Aslan will have exclusive rights to produce hLF based on Pharming's transgenic technology and sell nutritional products containing Pharming's lactoferrin in Turkey, the Middle East, UAE, Russia, Ukraine and several other countries in this region with a non-exclusive license to other parts of the world to be selected by Aslan after scale-up of production. Aslan will pay license fees to Pharming totalling EUR 20 million over the next three years of which a substantial part is expected to become due in 2009. During the 10-year term of the agreement Aslan will also pay royalties to Pharming based on net sales.
Aslan will produce a herd of transgenic cows with the ability to express human lactoferrin in their milk. They will also build one or more farms and facilities for housing the herd which will be produced by expanding the experimental herds already generated by Pharming. Milk fractions containing human lactoferrin will be incorporated into nutritional products to be marketed to people who will benefit from the use of lactoferrin.
Lactoferrin is a protein naturally present in different mammalian secretions especially in human breast milk, saliva and tears. The protein has several properties related to the human immune system, including anti-infective and anti-inflammatory protection. It has also been shown that the product has a positive effect on the growth of cells that protect the intestinal tract. Several scientific studies have shown that the product is very safe for human use.
Dr. Bruno Giannetti, Chief Operations Officer at Pharming, commented: "The new agreement with Aslan on the production of recombinant human lactoferrin is important for Pharming as it is the first scaled- up transgenic product from Pharming brought into major markets together with an experienced partner. It further validates the commercial importance of this product and will solidify Pharming's financial position. We are very pleased that shortly after signing our first agreement with Aslan, they have demonstrated their confidence in hLF by entering into this new commercial partnership and shown their commitment and power to establish industrial biotechnology in this region. We are confident that this relationship will be of mutual benefit for both companies as there is a clear market for innovative advanced food products."
Aslan Group is one of the leading family owned companies in Turkey established in 1978, with a track record in several business areas. Nutrition and biotechnology is a newly established focus of the Aslan Group in the fast growing market of Turkey and other countries in the region, including Russia, the Ukraine and the Middle East. Ibrahim Aslan, owner and Chairman of the Aslan Group commented: "The new agreement with Pharming is testimony to our confidence in the technology and the product and the markets it may serve. Our ambitions are high and we look forward to working with Pharming to develop superior nutritional products to improve the primary healthcare of our people."
About Pharming Group NV
Pharming Group NV is developing innovative products for the treatment of genetic disorders, ageing diseases, specialty products for surgical indications, intermediates for various applications and nutritional products. Pharming has two products in late stage development - Rhucin(R) for Hereditary Angioedema and human lactoferrin for use in food products. The advanced technologies of the Company include innovative platforms for the production of protein therapeutics, technology and processes for the purification and formulation of these products, as well as technology in the field of DNA repair (via DNage). Additional information is available on the Pharming website, http://www.pharming.com.
This press release contains forward looking statements that involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward looking statements.
Carina Hamaker, Investor Voice, T: +31 (0)6 537 499 59 or T: +31 (0)71 52 47 400
Julia Phillips (UK), Financial Dynamics, T: +44 (0)20 7269 7187 or T: +44 (0)7770 827 263
Samir Singh (US), Pharming Group NV, T: +1 908 720 6224 Rein Strijker, Pharming Group NV, T: +31 (0)71 52 47 400