Formed in 2015, listed UK start-up Amryt targets rare diseases with high unmet medical need. With one commercial asset on the market, a strong pipeline of development assets and a commercial infrastructure across the EMEA region already in place, the company is aiming to expand rapidly.
We have expanded our business recently in the Middle East and we identified lots of KOLs and a hospital in Saudi Arabia that attends to more patients than have been diagnosed in the whole of the UK
Rare diseases affect 350 million patients globally and, as Amryt’s CEO Joe Wiley points out, “there are around 7,000 identified orphan diseases, but only some 500 or so approved drugs to treat them.” He continues, “There is a long way still to go to develop drugs for all these indications. Therefore, regulatory incentives for companies like us to develop products for rare diseases are increasingly common and investment is encouraged.”
Amryt’s strategy revolves around gaining market access and reimbursement for these rare disease treatments. Wiley explains, “For the first time, patients have access to Lojuxta [Amryt’s lead commercial asset – Ed.] in England through the NHS, while we also expect reimbursement announcements in other countries soon. In addition, we have also been highly successful in bringing together highly talented people: we assembled a strong commercial team and managed to ramp up our know-how in market access across Europe. It’s a complex environment to navigate, but we have been successful despite the fledgling size of the company.”
Looking globally, Wiley notes that “Amryt has already built a commercial infrastructure in Europe and the Middle East, which we can leverage. The first milestone was to become a commercial stage business by building our sales infrastructure and a distributor network. This should provide a powerful foundation from which to launch our future growth.” He continues, “We generally access patients through key opinion leaders and, with that in mind, have been attentive to crafting a network of experts and opinion shapers across the globe. We have expanded our business recently in the Middle East and we identified lots of KOLs and a hospital in Saudi Arabia that attends to more patients than have been diagnosed in the whole of the UK. Therefore, the Middle East will be a really important future driver of our business.”
Amryt can also lean on the expertise of Harry Stratford, the founder of Shire Pharmaceuticals, to guide their growth strategy. Wiley exclaims, “We are delighted to have Harry as our chairman. Having his experience is fantastic as he is a veteran of the pharmaceutical industry and a highly successful serial entrepreneur. I believe he sees in our team parallels to what he did when he developed his businesses. Our strategy is to acquire, develop and commercialize; this is where we are aligned with Harry as it was the pathway that Shire followed in its inception.”