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Flamel suffers as GSK fights for Avandia

Flamel's shares drop 50 per cent, trading at USD 17.99, over the lacklustre launch of its GSK co-partnered congestive heart failure drug, Coreg CR

French pharmaceutical company, Flamel, has seen its shares drop 50 per cent, trading at USD 17.99.

The stock has been dropping since its dismal launch of Coreg CR (carvedilol controlled release) in March 2007. Prescription-tracking data has shown that doctors are not wowed by the drug.
 
Coreg CR treats congestive heart failure and uses Flamel's proprietary Micropump drug-delivery technology which spreads the dosage over one day in a single pill. Flamel receives royalties of approximately 5.5 per cent on sales of the drug.

GSK announced Q2 FY07 sales of Coreg CR as much lower than expected at USD 20m and the drug had even lost ground on Q1 sales of USD 27m.

Coreg CR was developed to replace Coreg IR (a twice-daily beta blocker with sales of USD 1.4bn in FY06) when it loses patent protection in September 2007. GSK has been persuading doctors and patients to switch to Coreg CR before generic erosion sets in.

However, GSK has had its head turned by the heart safety questions raised over its flagship diabetes drug, Avandia (roseglitazone), which shares the same sales force as Coreg CR. Avandia brings in far more money, so Coreg CR has effectively been abandoned by GSK for the time being.

After 20 weeks on the market, Coreg CR has managed to capture only 12 per cent of total prescription in its market. However, GSK was reported as saying that 2,000 sales reps will begin to place Coreg CR as a top priority. Alongside this, the FDA has voted keep Avandia on the US market, which will free up some time for the neglected drug.

1st August 2007

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