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Zealand to regain control of elsiglutide

  • Helsinn returns elsiglutide to Zealand
  • Zealand now has full rights to develop products within cancer-supportive care

Lugano, Switzerland and Copenhagen, Denmark, June 12, 2017– Helsinn, the Swiss pharmaceutical group focused on building quality cancer care products, has today returned elsiglutide for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea to Zealand, thereby concluding the licence agreement between the companies. Elsiglutide is a novel GLP-2 peptide analogue invented by Zealand that was licensed globally to Helsinn in 2008 for use in cancer-supportive care.

Britt Meelby Jensen, President and CEO of Zealand, comments: “Following Helsinn’s decision to return elsiglutide, Zealand now has the opportunity to pursue the development of medicines for cancer-supportive care in line with our strategy of taking forward fully owned programs. We remain confident that GLP-2 analogues have the potential to meet a significant unmet need for patients suffering from chemotherapy-induced diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Helsinn for the good collaboration on this project.”

Riccardo Braglia, Helsinn Group Vice Chairman and CEO, Helsinn, comments: “Following recent acquisitions that have augmented Helsinn’s pipeline of products and the strategic decision to move beyond solely cancer supportive care and into cancer therapeutics, Helsinn has decided to return elsiglutide to Zealand. We have enjoyed collaborating with Zealand and wish them well going forward.”

Elsiglutide was licensed to Helsinn to conduct and finance all clinical development and commercialization, and Zealand was eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on global sales. As of today, the license agreement will no longer be active. Zealand will communicate the potential further development of elsiglutide at a later stage, following a thorough evaluation.

About the Helsinn Group

Helsinn is a privately owned pharmaceutical group with an extensive portfolio of marketed cancer care products and a robust drug development pipeline. Since 1976, Helsinn has been improving the everyday lives of patients, guided by core family values of respect, integrity and quality. The Group works across pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices and nutritional supplements and has expertise in research, development, manufacture and the commercialization of therapeutic and supportive care products for cancer, pain and inflammation and gastroenterology. In 2016, Helsinn created the Helsinn Investment Fund to support early-stage investment opportunities in areas of unmet patient need. The company is headquartered in Lugano, Switzerland, with operating subsidiaries in Switzerland, Ireland and the US, a representative office in China as well as a product presence in approximately 190 countries globally. For more information, please visit

About Zealand Pharma A/S

Zealand Pharma A/S (Nasdaq Copenhagen: ZEAL) (“Zealand”) is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, design and development of innovative peptide-based medicines. Zealand has a portfolio of medicines and product candidates under license collaborations with Sanofi, Boehringer Ingelheim and Helsinn, and a pipeline of internal product candidates focusing on specialty gastrointestinal and metabolic diseases.

Zealand’s first invented medicine, lixisenatide, a once-daily prandial GLP-1 receptor agonist for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, is licensed to Sanofi. Lixisenatide is marketed as Adlyxin® in the U.S. and as Lyxumia® in the rest of the world. Lixisenatide has been developed in a combination with basal insulin glargine (Lantus®) and is marketed as Soliqua®100/33 in the U.S. and has been approved as Suliqua® in Europe and launched in the Netherlands.

Zealand’s clinical pipeline includes: dasiglucagon* (ZP4207, single-dose rescue treatment) for acute, severe hypoglycemia (Phase 2); glepaglutide* (ZP1848) for short bowel syndrome (Phase 2); dasiglucagon* (ZP4207, multiple-dose version) intended for use in a dual-hormone artificial pancreas system to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia and better diabetes management (Phase 2) and other earlier-stage clinical and preclinical peptide therapeutics.

Zealand is based in Copenhagen (Glostrup), Denmark. For further information about the Company’s business and activities, please visit or follow Zealand on Twitter @ZealandPharma.

* Dasiglucagon and glepaglutide are proposed International Nonproprietary Names (pINN).

For further information:

Helsinn Group Media Contact

Paola Bonvicini

Group Head of Communication

Lugano, Switzerland

Tel: +41 (0) 91 985 21 21

Zealand Pharma Media Contact

Britt Meelby Jensen, President and CEO
Tel.: +45 51 67 61 28, e-mail:

Mats Blom, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Tel.: +45 31 53 79 73, e-mail: