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Pantarhei Bioscience sells its Estetra shares for the use of Estetrol in oral contraception to Uteron Pharma

Estetra, the joint venture created between Uteron Pharma and Pantarhei Bioscience completed phase II clinical trials in 2012, paving the way for Uteron Pharma’s recent acquisition by Actavis (formerly Watson Pharmaceuticals)

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Pantarhei Bioscience, a specialty pharmaceutical company focusing on the development of innovative, proprietary treatments in the fields of women’s health and endocrine cancer, announces the sale of the human fetal estrogen Estetrol (E4) for oral contraception.

On 21 January 2013, Pantarhei Bioscience B.V. sold its 30% share stake in Estetra S.A. to Uteron Pharma S.A. Estetra is a joint venture between the two companies, focused exclusively on the development of E4 for oral and emergency contraception. Estetra was created in Q4 2009. In 2012, Estetra completed the clinical phase II development of Estelle, an oral contraceptive containing E4. Under contractual terms with Pantarhei Bioscience, Uteron Pharma acquired its Estetra shareholding through a combination of cash, shares in Uteron Pharma and milestone related future cash payments. 

Subsequently, on 23 January, 2013, Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (recently rebranded Actavis) acquired all outstanding shares in Uteron Pharma.

Stijn van Rompay, CEO of Uteron Pharma commented in the press release of Watson: “Uteron Pharma has developed a strong pipeline of innovative products in different stages of development in the area of women's health, based on strong in-house research capabilities combined with deep partnerships with other scientific-led groups, such as Pantarhei Bioscience, which initiated and co-developed Estelle, one of our pipeline products”

Prof. Herjan Coelingh Bennink, MD, PhD., founder and CEO of Pantarhei Bioscience remarked: “Selling our Estetra shares to Uteron Pharma strengthens the financial position of Pantarhei Bioscience and will enable us to reward our private shareholders and proceed with new projects. We are also delighted that Actavis will now complete the phase III clinical development of Estelle. Pantarhei started the development of the unique human fetal estrogen Estetrol in 2001 and established that this natural estrogen has a body-friendly profile with anticipated important safety advantages over existing estrogens. Indeed, personally I am very pleased that most likely this natural estrogen rediscovered by Pantarhei, will come to the market and be available in the not too distant future for women choosing oral contraception”

Pantarhei Bioscience is also developing E4 for other Women’s Health applications with special focus on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and add-back estrogen treatment to counteract the unfavorable side effects of endocrine treatment of women with breast cancer and endometriosis.

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