Akela Pharma announces restructuring

AUSTIN, TX, Sept. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Akela Pharma, Inc., (TSX: AKL) and its wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary, PharmaForm, today announced a comprehensive corporate restructuring designed to achieve several operational objectives. As part of its efforts to preserve its ability to execute on its development strategy for the company's lead compound, Fentanyl TAIFUN(R) for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain, and to optimize the infrastructure required to support its PharmaForm clients, the company has reduced its head count by 32 employees to a combined workforce of 65. Further, several of Akela's international operations will be closed and the company's operational headquarters will be centralized in Austin, Texas. Akela Pharma is a leader in the development of therapeutics for the treatment of pain, and its PharmaForm subsidiary provides a range of innovative technologies in drug product development, manufacturing and analytical testing to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Concurrent with the restructuring, Taneli Jouhikainen, former acting chief executive officer of Akela, will be leaving the company. Ed Margerrison, Ph.D., Akela's vice president, program management, will lead the Fentanyl TAIFUN project, and Marcelo Omelczuk, Ph.D., Akela's senior vice president, business and product development, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of PharmaForm. In addition, Rudy Emmelot, formerly with Nventa Biopharmaceuticals, has joined Akela as vice president, finance.

Akela remains committed to building shareholder value through the development of high value, proprietary products such as Fentanyl TAIFUN and others and concurrently, the company seeks to strengthen its revenue base from the PharmaForm business. Akela management is currently formalizing a new operating plan designed to optimize value from both business segments and will provide additional guidance on its corporate objectives in the near future. 

About Akela Pharma Inc.: 

Akela Pharma is a drug development company with its lead product, Fentanyl TAIFUN(R), being developed for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain. Fentanyl TAIFUN is a fast-acting fentanyl formulation delivered using the company's TAIFUN multi-dose dry powder inhaler platform. Akela's pipeline also includes a growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH), which is being developed for frailty and wasting in chronic renal disease. 

About PharmaForm: 

PharmaForm, Akela's wholly owned subsidiary, is a leading specialty contract service provider in the area of hot melt extrusion, and also offers a portfolio of other innovative technologies in drug product development, manufacturing and analytical testing to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Through its diverse offerings, PharmaForm solutions help clients reach their development targets, reduce development costs and accelerate time-to-market. 

Akela's common shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange ("TSX") under the symbol "AKL" with 30.9 million shares outstanding. 

This press release contains statements which may constitute forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation or forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1955. Such forward-looking statements or information may include financial and other projections as well as statements regarding the company's future plans, objectives, performance, revenues, growth, profits, operating expenses or the company's underlying assumptions. The words "may", "would", "could", "will", "likely", "expect", anticipate", "intend", "plan", "forecast", "project", "estimate" and "believe" or other similar words and phrases may identify forward-looking statements or information. Persons reading this press release are cautioned that such statements or information are only expectations, and that the company's actual future results or performance may be materially different.

Forward-looking statements or information in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements or information concerning our ongoing drug development programs and collaborations as well as the possible receipt of future payments upon achievement of milestones.

Such forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, events or developments to be materially different from results, events or developments expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. Such factors include, among others, the possibility that risks associated with requirements for approvals by government agencies such as the FDA before products can be tested in clinical trials; the possibility that such government agency approvals will not be obtained in a timely manner or at all or will be conditioned in a manner that would impair our ability to advance development; risks associated with the requirement that a drug candidate be found safe and effective after extensive clinical trials; our dependence on suppliers, collaborative partners and other third parties and the prospects and timing for negotiating supply agreements, corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements; our ability to attract and retain key personnel; and other factors as described in detail in our filings with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities at http:www.sedar.com.

Assumptions underlying our expectations regarding forward-looking statements or information contained in this press release include, among others, that future clinical trial results will be favorable; that our drug candidate will treat target diseases as intended; that we will raise enough capital, on reasonable terms and in a timely manner; that we will retain our key personnel; that we will obtain the necessary regulatory approvals.

In the event that any of these assumptions prove to be incorrect, or in the event that we are impacted by any of the risks identified above, we may not be able to continue in our business as planned.

For a complete discussion of the assumptions, risks and uncertainties related to our business, you are encouraged to review our filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities, filed on SEDAR at http://www.sedar.com.

All forward-looking statements and information made herein are based on our current expectations as of the date hereof and we disclaim any intention or obligation to revise or update such forward-looking statements and information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.      -30-  /For further information: Akela Pharma: Greg McKee, President and Chief Executive Officer, (512) 834-0449; Vida Communication: Tim Brons (media), (415) 675-7402, tbrons@vidacommunication.com; Stephanie Diaz (investors), (415) 675-7401, sdiaz@vidacommunication.com/
 

Posted: September 2009


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