This morning's news release by NeoStem (NBS) is a peek into the metamorphasis we learned would be taking place at the company last week.
During our exclusive interview with Robin L. Smith M.D., Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of NeoStem Inc., last week, she shared a few promising glimpses about the company's future. But some of the revelations we found after digging through some of the company's recent filings really start to put things into focus more clearly after today's announcement.
This morning it was announced that NeoStem's newly acquired Suzhou Erye Pharmaceutical subsidiary received approval from the State Food and Drug Administration in China to manufacture and sell omeprazole 20mg capsules. Omeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor, is the generic form of one of the most widely-prescribed drugs in the world for the treatment of peptic ulcer disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Just like that, the company gets a piece of a lucrative drug product that has annual sales of around $362.0 million in the USA alone (based on IRI sales data as of July 13, 2008). In China, it is estimated that a 5% incidence of GERD exists among their general population of 1.3 bln people. Omeprazole is on China's National Medical Reimbursement Insurance List as being eligible for reimbursement by the government's healthcare programs. So this news represents, by modest accounts, a $20+ million influx of revenues for a company that generated less than $80K in revenue last year. This is on top of the already announced tens of millions of dollars in revenue that they are entitled to as part of the purchase of Suzhou Erye.
Based on our research through public filings, it is safe to assume that the company has several other drugs in the State Food and Drug Administration in China approval pipeline already. Drugs usually take 12-18 months to get approval in that country, but don't be surprised to see a steady stream of these types of news items in the coming weeks and months ahead. NeoStem appears ready to leverage the distribution and sales capabilities of their new pharma subsidiary in order to produce and sell more drugs in that country. Already Suzhou Erye is one of the largest distributors of antibiotics in that country, but they are very actively looking to expand their drug product lines.
Also, let's not forget that the NeoStem is actively exploring more research opportunities and partnerships in the favorable regulatory environment which exists for stem cell research in China.
Full speed ahead.
Disclosure: Long NBS