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UCB partners with Daiichi to bring epilepsy drug to Japan

Companies partner on expanding market for Vimpat
UCP Vimpat lacosamide

UCB has teamed up with Daiichi Sankyo to commercialise its epilepsy treatment lacosamide in Daiichi's home nation of Japan.

The collaboration will see Belgium-based UCB manufacture and supply lacosamide, which is marketed as Vimpat in the US and Europe, while Daiichi will manage the distribution and book sales.

UCB will receive €180m in upfront and milestone payments from Daiichi as part of the deal and both companies will work on marketing the drug in Japan.

Jean-Christophe Tellier, CEO-elect at UCB, explained that Daiichi's experience in neurological diseases was one of the reasons to pick them as a partner.

“We share our partner's passion for people living with epilepsy and for lacosamide,” said Tellier.

Vimpat is an important drug for UCB as it looks to overcome the loss in revenue due to the loss of patent protection for older anti-epileptic Keppra.

According to UCB's most recent financial results, Vimpat made €335m for the company in the first nine months of 2014, the bulk of which has come in the US.

Vimpat is yet to be approved in Japan as an epilepsy treatment although UCB has plans in place to submit regulatory applications in both Japan and China in 2015 for use as an adjunctive therapy in adults with partial-onset seizures.

These submissions will be based on a phase III clinical study to evaluate lacosamide in Japanese and Chinese adult patients. According to UCB, the study met its primary efficacy endpoint of a reduction in partial-onset seizure frequency.

George Nakayama, representative director, president and CEO of Daiichi Sankyo, commented: “Daiichi Sankyo expects to contribute to the management of the treatment of epilepsy and provide a new therapeutic option by adding lacosamide to our products portfolio in the field of CNS in Japan.”

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

2nd December 2014

From: Sales

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