Shield Therapeutics reports encouraging US sales of iron deficiency drug

Pharmaceuticals firm Shield Therapeutics plc has seen a dramatic fall in turnover but says trading is in line with expectations as it begins to sell its key iron deficiency drug.

The Gateshead-headquartered business reported turnover of £1.5m in 2021, down from £10.4m the previous year – though this was down to an exceptional spike owing to a licensing deal with ASK Pharma in China.

Shield makes ferric maltol tablets – known as Accrufer in the US and Feraccru in Europe – designed to treat iron deficiency in adults.

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Since Accrufer’s US launch in July 2021 about 2,500 prescriptions were made by healthcare professionals and growth was particularly strong between Q3 and Q4.

In an update to investors the firm also said awareness of the drug among target customers had doubled since its launch, to 65%.

Meanwhile Feraccru – which was launched in Europe in 2019 – saw volume increase 60% year-on-year thanks to the work of distribution partners Norgine BV and driven by demand in Germany.

Shield also signed out-licensing agreements with two new partners, Korea Pharma Co and KYE Pharmaceuticals, that will bring Accrufer and Feraccru to the Republic of Korea and Canada, following respective clinical and regulatory processes in those countries.

Greg Madison, chief executive officer at Shield, said: “Our priorities for the US launch of Accrufer were to increase awareness, generate clinical experience, and expand payer coverage, and we have made significant progress across each of these priorities.

“We have been very pleased by the initial feedback and reactions of healthcare providers to Accrufer, and it is clear there is a need for an effective and well tolerated oral iron therapy for the millions of patients with iron deficiency.

“We will remain focused on continuing the strong momentum in the US and ensuring the Group has the resources required to deliver on this goal.

“We believe Accrufer/Feraccru has the potential to be the “best in class” oral iron replacement product and our efforts over the last six months have set the company up to expand access and grow sales in 2022 and beyond.”

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