PHARMACY

Sleep drug could be next big thing for Eli Lilly

BY Drew Buono

INDIANAPOLIS Eli Lilly is hoping its new sleeping drug, which it acquired when it bought the company Hypnion for $315 million, will become a huge seller in the booming sleep drug market, according to published reports.

Last year, Americans spent about $4 billion on prescription sleeping pills and that figure is expected to grow to $5.5 billion by 2014, according to BioMarket. More than 43 million prescriptions for sleeping pills were filled in 2005, up nearly 60 percent since 2000, according to IMS Health.

Hypnion is developing a new kind of sleeping drug designed to help trigger the natural mechanism of sleep, rather than just conking out a person with a sedative, as many sleeping drugs do. The Hypnion drug is in Phase 2 clinical testing, still several years away from the market.

Lilly officials say early tests show the drug is nonaddicting, doesn’t produce a hangover, and increases what sleep scientists call restful, slow-wave sleep. “It is designed to let you sleep, rather than to make you sleep,” said Steven Paul, Lilly’s executive vice president for science and technology. “I think this could be a very, very important medicine, and thus a very important product for our company.”

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Aricept patent is still intact after lawsuit, says Eisai

BY Adam Kraemer

NEW YORK Even after a decision by a U.S. court related to Japanese Eisai’s Alzheimer’s disease drug, Aricept, the company still insists that its patent is valid.

The U.S. District Court of New Jersey on Dec. 20 dismissed a suit filed by Eisai against Philadelphia-based Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. over the latter’s move to seek Food and Drug Administration approval for marketing a generic version of Aricept. The patent expires in three years.

Eisai Thursday said the ruling was issued on procedural grounds and doesn’t affect the validity of its Aricept patent, which the company believes remains valid through Nov. 25, 2010. Mutual Pharmaceutical still can’t sell a generic version of the drug, Eisai said.

The dismissal, Eisai stated, stemmed from the court’s decision that “there is no case or controversy between the parties, because Mutual did not make a certification challenging the Aricept patent and does not yet have U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market its product,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Japanese company also said that the U.S. company will give 45 days’ notice of any introduction of a generic version of Aricept.

Eisai this month agreed to pay $3.9 billion to buy MGI Pharma to boost its growth prospects, giving it more reach in the U.S., where Eisai also is building a research-and-development facility.

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Bentley to spin off CPEX as independent drug delivery company

BY Adam Kraemer

EXETER, N.H. Bentley Pharmaceuticals announced Friday that it had filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to spin off its new subsidiary CPEX Pharmaceuticals as an independent, publicly traded company.

As an independent company, CPEX will focus on drug delivery systems research and marketing. Upon completion of the plan, Bentley will focus on the generics pharmaceutical business, though it will provide CPEX with transitional services, including managerial, operational and administrative support, for a period of up to 24 months.

“Filing the Form 10 with the SEC is an important milestone for the planned spin-off of CPEX,” said James Murphy, chairman and chief executive officer of Bentley. “We are pleased with our progress and believe we are on track to complete the spin-off in a timely manner.”

CPEX drug delivery technology, CPE-215 permeation enhancement, has been validated through commercialization of Testim, a testosterone gel marketed by Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, and is also currently being used to develop Nasulin, an intranasal insulin product.

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