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Drugs firm hopes to grow sales to pounds 50m; in association with RBS.

Byline: Peter McCusker

ADRUGS company hopes to double its sales to pounds 50m next year with the help of a deal with new partners in the US and Canada.

Last month Newcastle-based Cambridge Laboratories secured a seven-year exclusive permission to sell its ground-breaking Xenazine drug in the US and it has now secured an American partner to market the product.

A similar deal has been struck in Canada and the company says this will propel it into a period of substantial growth, with this year's projected pounds 25m turnover expected to double in 2009.

Cambridge chief executive Mark Evans said: "The company has grown 50% year on year and this will see us grow at a faster rate than that.

"Cambridge is a real success story and we are now one of the leading drug companies in the UK.

"The US is a critical market for Xenazine. It is the largest market in the world and this will have a significant positive impact on the growth of the business."

Cambridge was launched 20 years ago in the university city before moving to the North East. Mr Evans and the current management team bought the business in 1996.

It employs 42 people with half of these being based at its Tyneside headquarters at Silverlink and most of the others at a base in Dublin.

Mr Evans added: "Our expertise in the development, global registration, marketing, sales and distribution of pharmaceutical products has enabled us to generate substantial growth over the past 10 years.

"We have a loyal and committed workforce. There is a very high level of expertise among our Newcastle staff and this will provide ongoing security for all of our employees." Xenazine is the only product for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington's disease. It will be marketed in the US by Ovation Pharmaceuticals and in Canada by Biovail Corporation .

The agreement follows Xenazine's approval by the Food and Drug Administration in the US in August and its commercial launch is anticipated by the end of the year.

Approximately 30,000 people suffer from Huntington's disease in the US, with the vast majority suffering from associated chorea, a motion disorder.

A 2006 study demonstrated Xenazine's ability to significantly reduce patients' chorea burden without causing many of the side effects seen with other treatments.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2008
Words:407
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