May 7, 2002
Anika Therapeutics Signs Orthovisc Distribution
Agreement for Canada
WOBURN, Mass.--Anika Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ANIK)
today announced the signing of an exclusive distribution
agreement for ORTHOVISC® in Canada with Rivex Pharma
Inc., the specialty drug distribution division of Aurora,
Ontario-based Helix BioPharma Corp. (Toronto, Frankfurt:
ORTHOVISC is Anika's therapy for osteoarthritis of
the knee and is used as a treatment alternative when
systemic drugs and lifestyle modifications are ineffective.
An estimated 3 million Canadians suffer from osteoarthritis
according to The Arthritis Society of Canada. An ultra-pure,
highly viscous product based on hyaluronic acid, a natural
component of healthy synovial fluid, ORTHOVISC is injected
into the knee to replenish synovial fluid and help lubricate,
cushion and protect the joint.
"We are impressed with Rivex Pharma's sales and
distribution network and its knowledge of the Canadian
market, and we look forward to working with Rivex to
expand our Canadian franchise," said Charles H.
Sherwood, Anika president and chief executive officer.
"We are very pleased to be distributing ORTHOVISC
and will begin aggressively marketing it immediately,"
said Rivex Vice President of Sales & Marketing Bill
About Rivex Pharma Inc.
Based in Aurora, Ontario, Rivex Pharma Inc. is a subsidiary
of Helix BioPharma Corp., a company focused on drug
development and commercialization. Rivex markets and
distributes a variety of pharmaceuticals throughout
About Anika Therapeutics
Headquartered in Woburn, Mass., Anika Therapeutics,
develops, manufactures and commercializes therapeutic
products and devices intended to promote the repair,
protection and healing of bone, cartilage and soft tissue.
These products are based on hyaluronic acid (HA), a
naturally occurring, biocompatible polymer found throughout
the body's joints. In addition to ORTHOVISC®, Anika
markets HYVISC® in the U.S. for the treatment of
equine osteoarthritis through Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica,
Inc. and manufactures AMVISC® and AMVISC® Plus,
HA viscoelastic products for ophthalmic surgery, for
Bausch & Lomb. It also produces STAARVISCTM-II for
distribution by STAAR Surgical Company and ShellgelTM
for Cytosol Ophthalmics, Inc.
Anika Therapeutics, Inc.
Pondel Parsons & Wilkinson
Susan Klein, (508) 358-4315
Robert Whetstone, (310) 207-9300
The statements made in this press
release which are not statements of historical fact
are forward-looking statements within the meaning of
Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section
21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including,
without limitation, statements that may be identified
by words such as "designed," "believe,"
"will," "expect," "look forward,"
"expand" and other expressions which are predictions
of or indicate future events and trends and which do
not constitute historical matters identify forward-looking
statements, including without limitation statements
regarding the Company's expectations and beliefs with
respect to growth in Canadian sales of ORTHOVISC or
the Canadian osteoarthritis market or Rivex's ability
to market and distribute ORTHOVISC. These statements
are based upon the current beliefs and expectations
of the Company's management and are subject to significant
risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results
could differ materially from any anticipated future
results, performance or achievements described in the
forward-looking statements as a result of a number of
factors including the risk that (i) Rivex's aggressive
marketing efforts do not result in meaningful sales
in Canada, (ii) enactment of adverse government regulation,
(iii) competitive pressures among hyaluronic acid viscoelastic
products may increase significantly and have an effect
on pricing, or (iv) the strength of the Canadian economy.
Certain other factors that might cause the Company's
actual results to differ materially from those in the
forward-looking statements include those set forth under
the headings "Business," "Risk Factors
and Certain Factors Affecting Future Operating Results"
and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial
Condition and Results of Operations" in the Company's
Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December
31, 2001, as well as those described in the Company's
other press releases and SEC filings.