COMPANY PRESS RELEASE: Almirall Prodesfarma, a leading firm in the Spanish pharmaceutical industry, recently signed a research agreement with the School of Pharmacy at the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Municipal Medical Research Institute in Barcelona (IMIM).
The objective of this co-operative agreement - which involves the Pharmacology and Organic Chemistry Departments at the university and the Medical Computer Department at the IMIM - is to obtain new pharmaceuticals to treat asthma and allergic rhinitis that are both safe and effective.
Asthma is a chronic disease affecting 5% of adults and 10% of children in Western countries, with a total of 155 million persons diagnosed with asthma throughout the world. The incidence of asthma has increased considerably in the last decade, particularly in urban areas of Europe and North America. Moreover, unlike allergic rhinitis, asthma has a high mortality rate: more than 180,000 persons die each year due to this disease, according to the World Health Organisation. Allergic rhinitis, on the other hand, is one of the most frequently observed chronic diseases.
The research agreement is geared toward identifying new molecules for therapeutic targets related to the pathology of asthma for which there are no known specific pharmaceuticals at present.
Hence, the interest of Almirall Prodesfarma -a company that markets some of the medications most widely prescribed for treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis- in researching and developing new select, potent pharmaceuticals for these disorders.
As the result of its own research, Almirall Prodesfarma already has one drug indicated for treatment of allergic processes and rhinitis, ebastine (Ebastel). This antihistamine is a leader in its therapeutic field and has been successfully marketed in various European and Asian countries, among them Japan, as well as in Latin America.
The co-operative agreement signed with the University of Santiago de Compostela and the IMIM is in keeping with the strategic decision of Almirall Prodesfarma to increase outside co-operative efforts to enhance its research activities.
Almirall Prodesfarma targeted 5,500 million pesetas (33.05 million euros) to research and development of new pharmaceuticals in 1998. This interest in innovative research means that sixty per cent of the products marketed by the company are the result of the company's own research. Projected investments in R&D for 1999 are around 6,250 million pesetas (37.56 million euros), 13.6% more than in 1998. The company expects to invest more than 30,000 million pesetas (180.30 million euros) over the next five years.