PHARMACY

Decision Resources: Linaclotide will capture IBS market

BY Alaric DeArment

BURLINGTON, Mass. — An investigational treatment for irritable bowel syndrome could become a blockbuster by the end of the decade, according to a report by Decision Resources.

The report, which the healthcare market research firm said it would publish later this month, found that linaclotide — made by Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Forest Labs, Almirall and Astellas Pharma — would emerge as the market leader for IBS and achieve sales of $1.1 billion in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan by 2019.

The drug will benefit from the loss of patent protection and what Decision Resources called the limited efficacy of Amitiza (lubiprostone), made by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Abbott.

The report characterized the IBS market as highly fragmented and underserved due to a high rate of generic drug penetration and the disease’s heterogeneity.

“IBS is a highly prevalent chronic condition in the world’s major pharmaceutical markets, but the lack of a biochemical or histological marker for positive diagnosis and incomplete understanding of the disease’s pathophysiology and etiology have resulted in low diagnosis and treatment rates,” Decision Resources analyst Iva Holder said. “The limited number of efficacious treatment options suggests significant opportunity for new IBS therapies.”

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PHARMACY

Watson, Richter enter licensing agreement for Esmya

BY Alaric DeArment

MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A subsidiary of Watson Pharmaceuticals has entered a licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Hungarian drug maker Richter to develop and market a drug for uterine fibroids, the two companies said Thursday.

Watson Labs and PregLem said European studies had shown Esmya (ulipristal acetate) to be a safe and effective treatment for the disease, a benign tumor condition that affects between one-fifth and one-fourth of women of reproductive age worldwide. Watson expected to start phase-3 studies of the drug in the United States in 2011.

Under the agreement, Watson will pay PregLem $17 million plus royalties based on U.S. and Canadian sales, as well as milestone payments. The companies also will collaborate on additional formulations of the drug, sharing development costs.

“Esmya represents a significant strategic addition to our portfolio of women’s health products and is potentially the first effective treatment for uterine fibroids in more than 20 years,” Watson CEO Paul Bisaro said.

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PHARMACY

Pfizer extends tender offer for King

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK — A subsidiary of Pfizer has extended the expiration date of its tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of King Pharmaceuticals.

Parker Tennessee’s tender offer now is scheduled to expire Jan. 21, as certain conditions to the tender offer wouldn’t have been satisfied by the previously scheduled expiration date — which was Dec. 17 — including the expiration or earlier termination of any waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Other terms and conditions of the offer remain unchanged. Pfizer and King expected the deal to be completed by first quarter 2011.

Back in October, Pfizer announced it would acquire Bristol, Tenn.-based King for $3.6 billion, or $14.25 per share.

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