Co-Founder of Biotech Powerhouse, ImClone Systems, Sees the Same Type of Potential at Neptune Subsidiary

Mon Apr 2, 2012 7:01am EDT

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  LOS ANGELES,CA, Apr 02 (Marketwire) -- 
Harlan Waksal M.D. joined Acasti Pharma Inc. (TSX VENTURE: APO), a
subsidiary of Neptune Technologies & Bioressources Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT) as
Executive Vice-President, Business & Scientific Affairs last summer. 

    Waksal, who helped found and eventually right the sails at ImClone
Systems -- a powerhouse biotech (and now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eli
Lilly and Company) -- sees the same potential at Neptune's subsidiary
Acasti Pharma. 

    When he first saw the effects of the parent company's Phospholipid
Omega-3 Krill Oil firsthand as a patient, he excitedly recognized the
promise and market potential of their highly patented platform.

    "I did get excited about it," explains Waksal. "It was very clear that
Neptune had a potential product in the area of cardiovascular, that I
thought was not only unique, but something that could be a billion dollar
type of product."

    "Why was that exciting for me? It is rare that somebody comes across a
potential drug that has a safety profile that is already well understood.
We're working with something called the Phospholipid Omega-3 coming from
Krill -- a small crustacean that we fish from Antarctica."

    In an exclusive video interview with BioMedReports, Waksal answers
questions about the key characteristics which make the companies an
intriguing bet for biotech investors -- particularly with data from Phase
II clinical trials expected during the second half of 2012.

    "We're focusing on triglycerides, and that is a little different than the
whole lipid profile, statins are addressing a different aspect," explains
Dr. Waksal. "They're addressing the bad cholesterol, the LDL. The market
for the statins is about $35 billion. For fish oils it's very different.

    "The overall fish oil market for 2012 will be somewhere around $8
billion. Of that $8 billion, however, you have to break down what is the
prescription aspect of that. And the prescription market is $1.3 billion
for one prescription drug, Lovaza (Omega-3-acid Ethyl Esters) -- the fish
oil. That's how much it comprises. So this is an area that is growing and
changing and will continue to evolve.

    "My personal feeling about this is that we're in the midst of an
epidemic. An epidemic with obesity, with fast food, with diabetes, and
this is a growing and growing area because of the mean implication of
those things is an increase of triglycerides and drugs that can counter
that are going to be increasingly desired because the ramification of
having triglyceridemia is having coronary artery disease. And if we can
do things to go ahead and stop that, that's a great thing. My belief is,
beyond the fish oils, that our drug will have an ability to be taken at a
lower dose, have greater implications in terms of its ability to be
tighter to a patient's need because you're going to be able to go to a
higher doses; won't require being taken with any kind of food or fats
like the current drugs that our out there. And I think that, overall,
this market area is going to grow very dramatically. And so, I believe
that we have the potential of having, what I consider, a blockbuster-type
of drug that could be greater than a billion dollars in value. 

    "I've already built a biotech company and I understand the hyperbole that
goes with that, and fortunately we were very successful in bringing into
fruition what we believed would take place -- a breakthrough type of

    "In this case, it's a little bit of lower hanging fruit. We know what the
technology should do. We know what Omega-3s should do. What we need to
prove is that the Phospholipid Omega-3 has greater potential than the
other drugs that are out there, that are doing the same kind of thing --
like the other Omega-3s. So to me, everything comes down to data. We are
doing the clinical studies now. This is the year that we're going to be
generating that data and I'm very excited about it and looking forward to
it because I believe the data is going to demonstrate the kind of
potential this drug is going to have.

    "We have one marketed product that uses the same technology that products
in our pipeline are using. It's approved. It's been through the FDA and
it serves as a great proof-of-concept for our ability to not only take
our product through the regulatory pathway, but also partner and get
through commercialization."

    The full video interview with Harlan Waksal M.D. is now available at:

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