Some of the most important stories emanating from the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region’s pharma industry, including Polpharma’s bid for Zentiva, Richter’s acquisition of OC Distributors and MDD approval in the US, Hungary’s windfall tax on pharma, Presage’s collaboration with Pure Biologics and Lithuania’s biotech ambitions.


Polpharma working on bid for Advent’s Zentiva (Reuters)

Poland’s largest drug maker, Polpharma, is working on a possible USD 4 billion takeover of Czech rival Zentiva and is looking for investors to join its bid in return for a minority stake in the Advent International company, sources said.

Polpharma’s move comes after Advent snubbed proposals from banks for an initial public offering (IPO) of Zentiva. Polpharma needs a deep-pocketed private equity firm to help finance the bid that could value Zentiva at EUR 3 billion to 3.5 billion and it has hired JPMorgan to select potential investors, the sources said.


AFT and Salus Pharmaceuticals sign agreement for pain treatment Maxigesic IV (Pharmaceutical Business Review)

Hyloris Pharmaceuticals’ partner AFT Pharmaceuticals (AFT) and Salus Pharmaceuticals have signed an exclusive licensing and distribution agreement for new, dual mode-of-action non-opioid pain treatment Maxigesic IV covering Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia. Under the partnership, Hyloris will receive a share on any revenues related to product, such as royalties, license fees, milestone payments, which AFT receives.

Maxigesic IV, which is delivered through intravenous (IV) infusion, is already registered in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia, where the initial commercial launches are expected to take place later this year.


Presage Announces Collaboration with Poland’s Pure Biologics to Investigate Oncology Agent (PR Newswire)

Presage Biosciences, announced a research collaboration with Poland-based Pure Biologics to evaluate two of Pure Biologics’ very early stage assets in a Phase 0 intratumoral microdosing study. Presage’s CIVO platform will be used to evaluate drug mechanism of action, potential indicators of efficacy, and drug combinations.

The collaboration with Pure Biologics comes after Presage’s recently completed Phase 0 clinical trials (NCT04065555 and NCT04541108) with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company evaluating immune-oncology drugs alone and in combination in head and neck cancer patients.


Gedeon Richter acquires OC Distributors (Market Screener)

Budapest-based Gedeon Richter announced that it has acquired from shareholders of Consilient Health 100 percent control of OC Distributors Ltd, an Ireland based company holding the marketing and distribution rights of a number of women’s healthcare products. The transaction value is GBP 32.5 million.

“This agreement brings a meaningful expansion to sales levels achieved in the UK and Ireland by Richter’s unique OC franchise,” – said Erik Bogsch, Chairman of the Board. “We are very pleased that Richter’s market presence in its core female health franchise will be further strengthened in these markets.”


FDA approves Richter’s Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Treatment (Hungary Today)

The Hungarian pharmaceutical company Richter saw the FDA approval of its Vraylar (cariprazine), a treatment for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).

AbbVie, Richter’s US commercial partner, announced on Friday that the FDA has approved the drug for use as an adjunctive therapy to antidepressants for the treatment of MDD in adults. Efficacy and tolerability were demonstrated by clinical data submitted by AbbVie.


Hungary imposes windfall tax on drug producers to plug budget gap (Reuters)

Hungary’s government has imposed a windfall tax on drug producers based on net revenues generated in 2022 and 2023, as it tries to plug holes in the state budget. According to a government decree, the rate increases progressively, and will be 8 percent on net revenues exceeding 150 billion forints (USD 398 million).

Companies will have to pay the new tax for both 2022 and 2023, as the government tries to narrow the deficit, which is expected to hit 6.1 percent of economic output in 2022.


Zentiva extends its collaboration with Adalvo and strengthens its offering in Respiratory, CNS and Dermatology (Company website)

Zentiva has announced an extension to its strategic partnership with Adalvo to include licensing for three molecules within Europe. The products are indicated in a variety of therapeutical areas such as Respiratory, CNS and Dermatology.

Sona Porubska, Head of Corporate Affairs and Strategic Franchises: “At Zentiva, we are delighted to further complement our product offering with the support of longstanding partners like Adalvo with new molecules in Respiratory, CNS and Dermatology. This will support us in achieving our mission to provide high quality and affordable medicines to people in Europe and beyond who depend on them every day. In partnership with physicians, pharmacists, wholesalers, regulators, and healthcare authorities we are making sure that people get better access to healthcare.”


Lithuania Focused on Building a Leading Life Science Sector (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News)

Lithuania looks to become a biotech and life sciences hub with success stories such as the biotech startup Delta Biosciences, which is using microfluidics, DNA tags, and artificial intelligence to speed up drug screening and is hoping to start approaching European venture capitalists for investment next year.