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Dainippon Sumitomo to price schizophrenia drug above main rivals

Fri, 17th Dec 2010 22:07


By Esha Dey

BANGALORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japan's Dainippon Sumitomo
Pharma plans to price its adult schizophrenia drug Latuda at $14 per dose in the United States, slightly above similar drugs, but is banking on its strong efficacy and side-effect profile to stand out in a crowded market.

'Products like (AstraZeneca's) Seroquel and (Eli Lilly's) Zyprexa, which are market leading products, cause significant weight gain, lipid and glucose issues,' Dainippon unit Sunovion's Chief Operating Officer Mark Iwicki said.

'And our profile on those cardiovascular risk issues look very, very good,' Iwicki told Reuters on Friday.

At $14 per dose for both the 40 mg and the 80 mg strengths, the drug, an atypical antipsychotic, will cost about $5000 per patient, per year.

Atypical antipsychotics are a first-line schizophrenia treatment that works by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain.

Patients suffering from schizophrenia see unusually high dopamine activity, which otherwise plays an important role in cognition, memory, learning and motor control.

Leading atypical antipsychotics like Lilly's Zyprexa, AstraZeneca's Seroquel and Johnson and Johnson's Risperdal are all priced below the proposed price for Latuda, according to data from price comparison website pharmacychecker.com.

However, the latest drug in the space -- Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc's Fanapt -- is priced higher.

Industry analysts agree that it will be difficult for a new schizophrenia treatment to do well in the crowded field, unless it offers a highly distinguished safety, efficacy and tolerability profile.

According to Thomson Reuters data, analysts expect Latuda to reach sales of about $383 million by 2014. The drug -- generically known as lurasidone -- received U.S. regulatory approval in October and is expected to be launched in February.

Dainippon bought Sunovion, previously known as Sepracor, in October 2009 for $2.6 billion, to maximize sales of lurasidone by capitalizing on a sales force that is familiar with central nervous system disorders.

(Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian) Keywords: DAINIPPON/DRUGPRICE

(esha.dey@thomsonreuters.com; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780; outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800; Reuters Messaging: esha.dey.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)

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