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Forest to buy Clinical Data

Forest Laboratories has signed a $1.2bn agreement to acquire Clinical Data, which recently received US approval for the novel antidepressant Viibryd

Forest Laboratories has signed a $1.2bn agreement to acquire the speciality pharmaceutical company Clinical Data, which recently received US approval for the novel antidepressant Viibryd (vilazodone).

The deal calls for Forest to pay $30.00 per share upfront in cash, with an additional $6 per share tied to commercial milestones related to Viibryd.  The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and a 5-HT1A receptor partial agonist was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on January 21 as a treatment of adults with major depressive disorder.

Forest, which markets the antidepressants Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram), said it will use its expertise in the category to launch Viibryd in the US during the second half of 2011. The company noted that it plans to expand its sales force in anticipation of the launch.

Viibryd could help make up for sales lost due to generic competition to Celexa, which is already off -patent, and Lexapro, a next-generation version of Celexa that is due to lose patent protection in 2012. Viibryd is expected to retain market exclusivity until at least March 2020.

With the acquisition, Forest also gains Clinical Data's phase III drug candidate Stedivaze (apadenoson), a coronary vasodilator in development as a pharmacologic stress agent for radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging.

Forest will finance the transaction with existing cash and expects the deal to close in the second quarter of 2011. The transaction, which Forest said may become accretive in 2014, will not affect the company's financial guidance for the current year.

In addition to Viibryd, Forest plans to launch its injectable antibiotic Teflaro (ceftaroline fosamil) this year and hopes to receive FDA approval this quarter for Daxas (roflumilast) as a treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

22nd February 2011

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