Sanofi-Aventis may pursue generic, OTC businesses
NEW YORK Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Roche have made big mega-acquisitions. Eli Lilly has pumped money into research and development. Sanofi-Aventis, however, has pursued a more modest means of boosting its drug business and fending off generic competition, according to published reports.
Bloomberg quoted Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher as saying that the company would pursue the same strategy this year that it did in 2009, acquiring several smaller companies, such as its $1.9 billion acquisition of Chattem, which it completed this week.
Another way the company has found to retain profits in the face of generic competition is to make generics itself, particularly in emerging economies. In April 2009, it bought Mexican manufacturer Laboratorios Kendrick and Brazil’s Medley, followed in July by Czech drug maker Zentiva.
Biovail, Alexza develop inhaled mental health treatment
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. An inhaled mental health drug could appear on the market in the near future under a collaboration announced Wednesday by Biovail Corp. and Alexza Pharmaceuticals.
Biovail subsidiary Biovail Labs International SRL and Alexza said they would work together to develop and commercialize AZ-004 (loxapine) in the United States and Canada. The drug is based on Alexza’s proprietary Staccato technology and is an inhaled drug designed to treat agitation in patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Alexza submitted an approval application for the drug to the Food and Drug Administration in December 2009.
Under the terms of the deal, Biovail will pay Alexza $40 million upfront and up to $90 million in milestone payments, if the drug is approved, as well as royalty payments of 10% to 25%.
“We are very excited to be partnering our lead program with Biovail,” Alexza president and CEO Thomas King said in a statement. “Their key strategic focus and their [central nervous system] commercial plans match our view of an ideal partner for AZ-004. We believe that AZ-004, if approved, has the potential to change the treatment practices for acute agitation, as the only product able to meet both the patients’ desire for quickly and comfortably gaining control of their agitation and the clinicians’ goal of rapidly and reliably calming an agitated patient.”
Novartis to develop, market hepatitis C drug
BASEL, Switzerland Novartis has gained exclusive rights to develop and market a hepatitis C drug that is the first of its kind, the Swiss drug maker announced Tuesday.
Novartis acquired control of Debio 025 (alisporivir) from Debiopharm Group. The drug is the first of a drug class known as cyclophilin inhibitors, which target host proteins involved in the growth of the virus. The drug is currently in phase 2b clinical trials.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novartis will pay unspecified upfront and milestone payments to Debiopharm, as well as royalties on sales, in exchange for the exclusive right to develop and market the drug worldwide, except in Japan.
“Hepatitis C is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent epidemic’ because the virus can lie dormant in the body for years or even decades before the symptoms become apparent,” Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division CEO David Epstein said. “Novartis is dedicated to developing medicines that will reduce the impact of this disease on patients, and we believe that Debio 025 could prove an important step forward by significantly enhancing the efficacy of existing therapy that forms the standard of care for hepatitis C.”