FDA approved VIMOVO for arthritis patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers

AstraZenecaAstraZeneca and POZEN Inc. announced the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved VIMOVO (naproxen and esomeprazole magnesium) delayed-release tablets for the relief of signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and to decrease the risk of developing gastric ulcers in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers. VIMOVO, co-developed by POZEN Inc. and AstraZeneca, is a fixed-dose combination of delayed-release enteric-coated naproxen, a pain-relieving non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and immediate-release esomeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). The FDA approval was supported by data from a clinical development program, including results from the pivotal PN400-301 and PN400-302 studies, which showed patients taking VIMOVO experienced significantly fewer endoscopic gastric ulcers, compared to patients receiving enteric-coated naproxen.

Twenty-seven million Americans are affected by osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of arthritis. While many patients with osteoarthritis treat their symptoms with NSAIDs, 50% of chronic NSAID users are at risk of developing gastrointestinal ulcers.

"In a single pill, VIMOVO provides a proven pain reliever with a built-in PPI for arthritis patients at-risk for NSAID-associated gastric ulcers," said Howard Hutchinson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, AstraZeneca. "The approval also demonstrates the commitment of AstraZeneca and POZEN to provide a new pain relief option that addresses the unmet medical needs of these patients."

In the PN400-301 and 302 studies, the primary end point was the cumulative incidence of gastric ulcers through six months. In each of the trials, patients received either VIMOVO or enteric-coated naproxen 500 mg, twice daily, over a six-month treatment period. Endoscopies were performed at baseline and at one, three, and six months. Data from study PN400-301 showed a 4.1% incidence of gastric ulcers in patients taking VIMOVO, compared to 23.1% among patients taking enteric-coated naproxen (p<0.001). Study PN400-302 showed a 7.1% incidence of gastric ulcers among patients taking VIMOVO, compared to 24.3% with enteric-coated naproxen (p<0.001).

The most commonly observed adverse events in the clinical trials (experienced by >5% of patients in the VIMOVO group) were erosive gastritis, dyspepsia, gastritis, diarrhea, gastric ulcer, upper abdominal pain, and nausea.

About VIMOVO
VIMOVO is a fixed-dose combination of delayed-release enteric-coated naproxen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and immediate-release esomeprazole, a proton pump inhibitor (PPI), approved for the relief of signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and to decrease the risk of developing gastric ulcers in patients at risk of developing NSAID-associated gastric ulcers. VIMOVO is not recommended for use in children younger than 18 years of age.

VIMOVO has been developed as a sequential-delivery tablet formulation combining an immediate-release esomeprazole magnesium layer and an enteric-coated naproxen core. As a result, esomeprazole is released first in the stomach, prior to the dissolution of naproxen in the small intestine. The enteric coating prevents naproxen release at pH levels below 5.5 providing protection against possible local gastric toxicity of naproxen.

AstraZeneca submitted a Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) for VIMOVO on October 15, 2009.

Upon the FDA's notification of approval of the New Drug Application (NDA) for VIMOVO, a $20 million milestone payment from AstraZeneca will be payable to POZEN.

About Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the most common cause of chronic pain, affecting 151 million individuals worldwide and 27 million Americans. A combination of factors can contribute to osteoarthritis, including being overweight, aging, joint injury or stress, heredity and muscle weakness. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the hands, spine or large weight-bearing joints, such as the hips and knees.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining, or synovium, of the joints. It can lead to long-term joint damage, resulting in chronic pain, loss of function and disability.

About Ankylosing Spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that primarily causes pain and inflammation of the joints between the vertebrae of the spine and the joints between the spine and pelvis (sacroiliac joints). Ankylosing spondylitis may also cause inflammation and pain in other parts of the body as well.

About POZEN
POZEN Inc., headquartered in Chapel Hill, NC, is a pharmaceutical company committed to transforming medicine that transforms lives. Since its founding in 1996, POZEN has successfully created novel pharmacologic agents primarily for pain and pain-related conditions by combining existing drug therapies that result in superior patient outcomes. Moving forward, POZEN is poised to become a model 21st century pharmaceutical company dedicated to ensuring that they produce cost-effective, evidence-based medicines; take a fresh approach to sales, marketing and medical education; and deliver high-quality, affordable pharmaceuticals to their customers. The Company's common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market under the symbol "POZN". For more detailed company information, including copies of this and other press releases, please visit: www.pozen.com.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines. As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of US $32.8 billion in 2009. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com.

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