Medunik Canada: a Piece of the Puzzle in Helping Canadians Gain Access to Treatments for Rare Diseases

By Medunik Canada, PRNE
Monday, October 25, 2010

BLAINVILLE, Quebec, October 26, 2010 - A new player has entered into the Canadian orphan drug landscape: Medunik
Canada, with a mission to bring currently unavailable orphan therapies for
Canadian individuals with rare diseases. Headquartered in the northern area
of Montreal, Medunik Canada is the sister company of Duchesnay Inc., a
specialty pharmaceutical company dedicated mainly to the health of pregnant
women and their unborn babies. Duchesnay and Medunik Canada are part of the
Groupe Pharmaceutique Boivin, a Canadian family-owned organisation.

Éric Gervais, Executive Vice-President of both Medunik Canada and
Duchesnay, explained what lead to the creation of this new corporate entity.
"It is estimated that 1 in 12 Canadians has a rare disease, which is often
chronic, progressive, degenerative and life-threatening. Unfortunately,
Canada lags behind the United States, Europe and other countries in
implementing a comprehensive orphan drug policy. Such an initiative could
encourage pharmaceutical and biopharma companies to develop and market orphan
therapies which, under normal market conditions, would not be financially
viable since these products are intended for a small number of patients
suffering from rare conditions. Consequently fewer novel orphan treatments
are available in Canada compared to other countries.

To fulfill its mission, Medunik Canada is actively seeking to develop
strong partnerships with non-Canadian pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical
companies that are attempting to optimize the return on investment of their
orphan drugs; they need to balance the financial risks and complexities
associated to the introduction and distribution of their products on the
small-size Canadian market. Through in-licensing partnerships, Medunik Canada
offers turn-key operations - ranging from regulatory approval strategy to
post-approval activities - to assure the commercial success of the partners'
novel orphan treatments. "Our long-standing success in specialty markets,
coupled with our solid and independent financial backing, our infrastructure
and our dedication to small-size vulnerable populations makes Medunik Canada
the missing piece of our potential partners' global orphan drug strategy,"
concluded Éric Gervais.

Medunik Canada is working with an advisory committee composed of Abbey S.
, founder and Past President of the US National Organization for Rare
Disorders (NORD), Marlene E. Haffner, M.D., M.P.H., former FDA's Director of
Orphan Product Development and Jean F. Campbell, Former Vice-President,
Membership Development at NORD.

"I am very pleased to help Medunik Canada in its efforts to meet the
medical needs of Canadian rare disease patients. Canada is one of the few
industrialized countries that still do not have comprehensive orphan drug
legislation. As a result, important orphan therapies that are currently
available in the United States, European and Asian countries are not readily
available to Canadians with rare diseases. Medunik Canada is committed to
addressing these issues, and I am very pleased to help them with the
knowledge and expertise I have acquired over the years" said Abbey Meyers.

"The Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders (CORD) is very encouraged
by the entry of Medunik Canada into the Canadian rare disease landscape,"
said Durhane Wong-Rieger, president of CORD. As Canada's national network for
individuals and organizations representing the 28,000 Canadians diagnosed
with a rare disease, CORD has long been concerned that less than one-third of
orphan drugs are brought to Canada, which means Canadians with rare diseases
do not get access to the same new and often life-saving therapies as patients
in other countries. We realize the challenge of serving small patient
populations and appreciate greatly the commitment of a Canadian-based company
to undertaking this endeavour. We in turn are committed to working with
Medunik Canada to identify and reach the rare diseases community. It is
important for this underserved population, those with a diagnosis and those
yet to be diagnosed have access to treatments for rare diseases. CORD's
mission is to be a strong common voice to advocate for a health policy and a
healthcare system that addresses the vital needs of the Canadian rare disease
community. Therefore we applaud Medunik Canada's commitment to establish
relationships that will bring new treatments to Canada for this medically
unique population."


Canadian Organization for rare disorders (CORD)

For further information:

Christine Walter +1-450-433-7734

For further information: Christine Walter +1-450-433-7734 cwalter at

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