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