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Lundbeck launches Brintellix in first EU market

The antidepressant set to sell worldwide
Lundbeck HQ

Danish pharma company Lundbeck is selling its new antidepressant Brintellix in its home market, the first European launch for the product.

Brintellix (vortioxetine) is the first new drug treatment to be launched in Denmark for five years and will be rolled out in several other European countries throughout the remainder of 2014 and 2015, the company said.

Lundbeck debuted Brintellix in the US - where the drug is co-promoted by Takeda - in January and reported sales of 46m krone ($8m) for the product in the first six months of the year. It has also been approved in Australia and, once widely available, is expected to achieve between $1bn and $2bn in peak annual sales, according to analysts.

The first EU launch of Brintellix is another important step for the Danish company as it recovers from the loss of patent protection for its antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate), a former blockbuster that succumbed to generic competition in 2012 and lost $2bn in revenue in 12 months.

The impact of the patent loss was profound, with Lundbeck cutting jobs and restructuring its European business whilst it brought a new crop of products through development and onto the market.

Since then, the company has launched not only Brintellix but also a long-acting version of schizophrenia drug Abilify (aripiprazole) and alcohol addiction treatment Selincro (nalmefene) that have allowed it to start clawing back the lost Lexapro revenue.

Clinical trial results suggest Brintellix is at least as effective as Lexapro in adult patients with major depressive disorders and is significantly less likely to cause sexual dysfunction, a common problem with older antidepressant drugs. The company has also reported data indicating it has a superior efficacy profile compared to Servier's Valdoxan (agomelatine) - the last new antidepressant to reach the EU market.

The drug, which acts as a serotonin (5-HT) transporter inhibitor - has also been shown in studies to exert a positive effect on cognitive function in patients with major depression that seems to be a direct treatment effect, rather than a consequence of the alleviation of depressive symptoms.

Article by
Phil Taylor

16th September 2014

From: Sales

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