News Feature | September 4, 2014

Knight Acquires Orphan Canada, Rights To Photofrin And ATryn

By Estel Grace Masangkay

Canadian specialty pharmaceutical firm Knight Therapeutics announced that it has signed into an asset purchase agreement to acquire Orphan Canada as well as Canadian rights to two novel pharmaceutical products ATryn(R) and Photofrin(R) (porfimer sodium).

Photofrin is a two-stage photodynamic therapy that involves the administration of both drug and light. Photofrin is first injected into the patient where it attracts certain tissues, particularly cancer cells. The second phase of treatment involves 40 to 50 hours use of nonburning laser light to trigger destruction of tumors via biochemical reactions. The therapy is approved for the treatment esophageal cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer, and high-grade dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus in both Canada and the U.S.

ATryn is a recombinant antithrombin approved by both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Commission for the prevention of peri-operative and peri-partum thromboembolic events in patients diagnosed with hereditary antithrombin deficiency.

As part of the agreement, Knights Therapeutics gains Canadian rights to both Photofrin and ATryn. Jonathan Ross Goodman, CEO of Knight, said, “With this transaction, Knight has established its first product offering in Canada, significantly increased the size and experience of its leadership team, and expanded its business development reach.”

Orphan Canada’s founders Jason Flowerday and Joost van der Mark will join the ranks of Knight’s executives. Bourne Partners, co-founders of Orphan Canada, will also assist in the company’s development efforts.

On the same day of the announcement of its acquisition, Orphan Canada reported that it has entered into collaborative agreement with Concordia Healthcare for the distribution of Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) with Photofrin in Canada. “Orphan Canada will provide a distribution infrastructure for Concordia within Canada. This relationship should provide us with operating flexibility and a depth and scale of product development that may increase access to treatments for patients with rare forms of cancer,” said Mark Thompson, CEO of Concordia.