Pharmaceutical companies Otsuka and Lundbeck have expanded their collaboration to include the promotion of schizophrenia drug Abilify (aripiprazole) in 14 EU countries from 1 April.
The two companies will co-promote Abilify, which is currently marketed by Otsuka, in the UK and six other European countries.
Lundbeck will promote the antipsychotic drug in Ireland and six other EU countries.
The collaboration covers all forms of Abilify that are available: three oral formulations and the rapid intramuscular injectable version.
Abilify is now the biggest-selling drug in the US, despite the limited incidence of schizophrenia (an estimated 1% of the population).
Otsuka and Lundbeck will jointly promote Abilify in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK, while Lundbeck will promote it in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania.
Taro Iwamoto, President of Otsuka, said: “The agreement will further strengthen the Abilify brand in Europe and also position Otsuka and Lundbeck to successfully develop and launch up to five more new products there.”
The partners are about to launch a new monthly injectable version, Abilify Maintena, in the US, and submitted it to for EMA approval in December 2012.
Ulf Wiinberg, CEO of Lundbeck, commented: “Abilify Maintena represents a treatment option for patients and their physicians and caregivers seeking an alternative long-term maintenance treatment for schizophrenia, and we are pleased to join Otsuka in launching this first product as part of our extensive global alliance.”
Aripiprazole is a partial D2 dopamine receptor agonist that has been shown to reduce the risk of relapses in people suffering from schizophrenia.
Otsuka and Lundbeck signed an agreement to collaborate in the development and promotion of drugs to treat central nervous system disorders in November 2011.