Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Big-profile Schering arthritis drug wins Canada nod

From Reuters:
Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough Corp said on Monday that Canadian regulators had approved use of their experimental once-monthly drug Simponi to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis.

The potential blockbuster medicine, awaiting approval in the United States and Europe, is a follow-up to the widely used Remicade treatment sold by the two drugmakers.

Simponi could turn out to be a high-stakes bone of contention in Merck & Co's planned $41 billion purchase of Schering-Plough because Merck has said it will inherit overseas rights to Simponi and Remicade. Under an earlier marketing deal with J&J, Schering-Plough is obliged to return overseas rights to J&J if control of Schering-Plough changes.

J&J has exclusive rights to sell the new injectable treatment in the United States. Schering-Plough, which has rights in most other markets, said it hopes to introduce Simponi in Canada during the second half of the year.

Canadian authorities also approved Simponi for active psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the skin and joints, and ankylosing spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory arthritis of the spine. ...more

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