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Redhill Seeks Migraine, Oncology Partners After Nasdaq Listing

Redhill Biopharma Ltd. is in talks with potential partners to market its migraine and oncology treatments as the company seeks to overcome regulatory hurdles, Chief Executive Officer Dror Ben-Asher said.

The company plans to file for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval this year for its RHB-103 oral thin-film for migraine and RHB-102 once-daily pill for the prevention of nausea in cancer patients, said Ben-Asher.

“Investors want to see that we can achieve deals that will start generating revenue and this is definitely something we are working on now,” Ben-Asher, a Harvard University Fulbright scholar, said in an interview at the company’s offices in Tel Aviv. “We are hoping as the company progresses we can attract more institutional investors as well.”

Redhill, which takes existing drugs and patents them under improved formulations, listed in December on the Nasdaq. Investors include Dan Suesskind, a Redhill board member who is also former Chief Financial Officer at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Hezi Bernholz, co-inventor of the cancer drug Doxil. The company plans to start a third-phase clinical trial this year for RHB-104, an antibiotics drug combination for Crohn’s disease, with the goal of achieving long-term disease remission.

Redhill in May said its migraine drug demonstrated bioequivalence to Merck & Co.’s Maxalt-MLT, which in 2011 had more than $600 million in sales. The company is betting patients will find the drug more convenient because it can be consumed without water, Ben-Asher said. In April, the company said its once-daily controlled release for nausea in cancer patients demonstrated bioequivalence to Ondansetron, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline Plc as Zofran.

“I like the business model which says we buy molecules with practically no money, because we don’t have any money, and in exchange we are willing to pay high royalties in the future,” said Suesskind, a director on Teva’s board since retiring as CFO in 2008. “They now have to make alignments with bigger companies because the basic intention is not to market on their own.”

Redhill, founded in 2009, gained 58 percent last year compared with a 10 percent increase in the Tel Aviv Biomed Index of 38 publicly traded biomedical companies. The company has a market value of 247 million shekels ($66 million).

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