Forest to acquire US rights to Merck’s schizophrenia drug

A subsidiary of Forest Laboratories is to acquire exclusive rights for the schizophrenia drug, Saphris, in the United States from Merck & Co’s subsidiary, Merck Sharp & Dohme.

Forest Laboratories Holdings Limited will make an upfront payment of US $240 million and then additional payments to Merck based on defined sales milestones. Merck will remain responsible for product supply. Forest will assume responsibility for continued commercialization, including completing certain post marketing studies of Saphris following a transition period, and will be the marketing authorization holder.

Saphris (asenapine) sublingual tablets are a treatment for adult patients with schizophrenia and for adult patients with manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar I disorder, as monotherapy or as adjunctive therapy with either lithium or valproate. The drug was approved by the US FDA and launched in 2009.

“We are pleased to gain access to another commercial product in the CNS category. With Viibryd and our soon to be launched product, Fetzima, Saphris complements our current position in psychiatry and gives us access to the important schizophrenia segment as we continue to work toward registering and commercializing cariprazine with our partner Gedeon Richter. This deal is immediately accretive to Forest’s earnings and makes us more relevant to our customers, as well as our current and future business partners in the CNS category.”

Brent Saunders, chief executive officer and president of Forest Laboratories.

“The decision to divest Saphris in the U.S. is part of our ongoing strategy to sharpen our commercial and R&D focus and improve our operational effectiveness. This agreement will allow Merck to focus both R&D and commercial resources on other opportunities, while complementing Forest’s product portfolio and allowing for continued access to Saphris for physicians and patients.”

Jay Galeota, president, Hospital and Specialty Care at Merck.

Schizophrenia and acute bipolar mania are significant areas of unmet medical need and it is important to have treatment options available for physicians and patients.

The agreement is expected to close in early 2014, pending on regulatory review and satisfaction of all closing conditions.



Related news:

Forest Labs to buy schizophrenia drug, cut costs (Reuters)

Reference links:

Forest Laboratories press release

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