Acacia Pharma’s BARHEMSYS® (amisulpride injection) Launched and Commercially Available in the US for the Treatment and Prevention of Postoperative Nausea & Vomiting (PONV)
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No 596/2014.
Cambridge, UK and Indianapolis, US – 24 August 2020: Acacia Pharma Group plc (“Acacia Pharma” or the “Company”) (EURONEXT: ACPH), a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing novel products to improve the care of patients undergoing serious medical treatments such as surgery, invasive procedures, or chemotherapy, announces today that BARHEMSYS® (amisulpride injection) has been launched and is now commercially available in the US for order and delivery to customers through major wholesalers and specialty distributors. BARHEMSYS was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment and prevention of postoperative nausea & vomiting (PONV) on 26 February 2020.
“We are excited to announce today that BARHEMSYS is now available in the US for the millions of patients each year who suffer from PONV,” commented Mike Bolinder, Acacia Pharma’s CEO. “BARHEMSYS is the first and only antiemetic to be approved for the rescue treatment of PONV in patients who have failed prior prophylaxis with an agent of a different class using current standard of care and we estimate there are approximately 16 million such surgical patients each year in the US that go on to suffer from PONV despite receiving prophylaxis.1-3 We believe there will be strong demand for BARHEMSYS as US healthcare institutions seek to address surgical backlogs created by the coronavirus crisis and are very happy to make this new therapy available in the US.”
BARHEMSYS is now available for ordering in the US through the major wholesalers and selected specialty distributors, including Cardinal Health, Amerisource Bergen, Besse, McKesson, McKesson Medsurg, Morris and Dickson, and Curascript.
PONV is a common complication of surgery, occurring in approximately 30% of surgical patients and up to 80% of high-risk patients. It is associated with the use of anesthetic gases and opioid painkillers and is particularly common following gynecological, abdominal, breast, eye, and ear operations, especially those lasting an hour or more. PONV has been ranked as the most undesirable of all surgical complications in some patient surveys, even worse than pain.4
Acacia Pharma estimates that approximately 65 million surgical procedures are conducted in the US each year that are eligible for antiemetic use to prevent PONV. Based on market research, Acacia Pharma estimates that the total market in the US for high-risk prophylactic and rescue treatment comprises an estimated 34 million patients annually.3
BARHEMSYS is a selective dopamine-2 (D2) and dopamine-3 (D3) receptor antagonist, which Acacia Pharma has developed and protected for the management of PONV.
BARHEMSYS is indicated in adults for:
- treatment of PONV in patients who have received antiemetic prophylaxis with an agent of a different class or who have not received prophylaxis
- prevention of PONV, either alone or in combination with an antiemetic of a different class
Important Safety Information for BARHEMSYS® (amisulpride) Injection
BARHEMSYS is contraindicated in patients with known hypersensitivity to amisulpride.
BARHEMSYS causes dose- and concentration-dependent prolongation of the QT interval. The recommended dosage is 5 mg or 10 mg as a single intravenous (IV) dose infused over 1 to 2 minutes.
Avoid BARHEMSYS in patients with congenital long QT syndrome and in patients taking droperidol.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring is recommended in patients with pre-existing arrhythmias/cardiac conduction disorders, electrolyte abnormalities (e.g., hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia), congestive heart failure, and in patients taking other medicinal products (e.g., ondansetron) or with other medical conditions known to prolong the QT interval.
Common adverse reactions reported in ≥ 2% of adult patients who received BARHEMSYS 5 mg (n=748) and at a higher rate than placebo (n=741) in clinical trials for the prevention of PONV were: chills (4% vs. 3%), hypokalemia (4% vs. 2%), procedural hypotension (3% vs. 2%), and abdominal distention (2% vs. 1%).
Serum prolactin concentrations were measured in one prophylaxis study where 5% (9/176) of BARHEMSYS-treated patients had increased blood prolactin reported as an adverse reaction compared with 1% (1/166) of placebo-treated patients.
The most common adverse reaction, reported in ≥ 2% of adult patients who received BARHEMSYS 10 mg (n=418) and at a higher rate than placebo (n=416), in clinical trials for the treatment of PONV was infusion site pain (6% vs. 4%).
Use in Specific Populations
Amisulpride is present in human milk. There are no reports of adverse effects on the breastfed child and no information on the effects of amisulpride on milk production.
BARHEMSYS may result in an increase in serum prolactin levels, which may lead to a reversible increase in maternal milk production. In a clinical trial, serum prolactin concentrations in females (n=112) increased from a mean of 10 ng/mL at baseline to 32 ng/mL after BARHEMSYS treatment and from 10 ng/mL to 19 ng/mL in males (n=61). No clinical consequences due to elevated prolactin levels were reported.
To minimize exposure to a breastfed infant, lactating women may consider interrupting breastfeeding and pumping and discarding breast milk for 48 hours after receiving a dose of BARHEMSYS.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these patients and younger patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Avoid BARHEMSYS in patients with severe renal impairment (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2). The pharmacokinetics of amisulpride in patients with severe renal impairment have not been adequately studied in clinical trials. Amisulpride is known to be substantially excreted by the kidneys, and patients with severe renal impairment may have increased systemic exposure and an increased risk of adverse reactions.
No dosage adjustment is necessary in patients with mild to moderate renal impairment
(eGFR ≥ 30 mL/min/1.73 m2).
- BARHEMSYS causes dose- and concentration-dependent QT prolongation. To avoid potential additive effects, avoid use of BARHEMSYS in patients taking droperidol.
- ECG monitoring is recommended in patients taking other drugs known to prolong the QT interval (e.g., ondansetron).
- Reciprocal antagonism of effects occurs between dopamine agonists (e.g., levodopa) and BARHEMSYS. Avoid using levodopa with BARHEMSYS.
Please click to access full Prescribing Information for BARHEMSYS.
Acacia Pharma Group plc
Mike Bolinder, CEO
Gary Gemignani, CFO
+44 1223 919760 / +1 317 505 1280
Citigate Dewe Rogerson (Financial PR)
Mark Swallow, Frazer Hall, David Dible
+44 20 7638 9571
About Acacia Pharma
Acacia Pharma is a hospital pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of new products aimed at improving the care of patients undergoing significant treatments such as surgery, other invasive procedures, or cancer chemotherapy. The Company has identified important and commercially attractive unmet needs in these areas that its product portfolio aims to address.
Acacia Pharma's first product, BARHEMSYS® (amisulpride injection) is available in the US for postoperative nausea & vomiting (PONV).
BYFAVO™ (remimazolam) for injection, a very rapid onset/offset IV benzodiazepine sedative is approved in the US for use during invasive medical procedures in adults lasting 30 minutes or less, such as colonoscopy and bronchoscopy. BYFAVO is in-licensed from Paion UK Limited for the US market, and US launch is planned for 2H 2020.
APD403 (intravenous and oral amisulpride), a selective dopamine antagonist for chemotherapy induced nausea & vomiting (CINV) has successfully completed one proof-of-concept and one Phase 2 dose-ranging study in patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy.
Acacia Pharma is based in Cambridge, UK and its US operations are centred in Indianapolis, IN. The Company is listed on the Euronext Brussels exchange under the ISIN code GB00BYWF9Y76 and ticker symbol ACPH.
Forward looking statement
This announcement includes forward-looking statements, which are based on current expectations and projections about future events. These statements may include, without limitation, any statements preceded by, followed by or including words such as “believe”, “expect”, “intend”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “should”, “could” and other words and terms of similar meaning or the negative thereof. Forward-looking statements may and often do differ materially from actual results. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions about the Company and its subsidiaries and investments, including, among other things, the development of its business, trends in its operating industry, and future capital expenditures and acquisitions. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances. Any forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current view with respect to future events and are subject to risks relating to future events and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to the Group's business, results of operations, financial position, prospectus, growth or strategies and the industry in which it operates. Save as required by law or applicable regulation, the Company and its affiliates expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking to update, review or revise any forward-looking statement contained in this announcement whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made.
1. Habib et al. Anesthesiology. 2019;130(2):203-212.
2. BARHEMSYS [package insert]. Indianapolis, IN: Acacia Pharma Inc; 2019
3. Data on File. DOF. 042519.a Acacia Pharma Inc.
4. Gan TJ, et al. Anesth Analg. 2014;118(1):85-113.