Pfizer Retains Rights to Aricept; Eisai Gets Hands on Lyrica
While I was blogging about prions last week, Pfizer and Eisai semi-quietly avoided a mammoth conflict. The two companies announced a restructuring of their comarketing deal for Aricept (donepezil), the number-one prescription med for Alzheimer disease.
Back in May, the Japan-based Eisai informed Pfizer that it had a legal right to terminate their copromotion of the drug, in place since 1994, because of Pfizer’s anticipated acquisition of Wyeth. But Pfizer understandably bristled at the threat, given that Aricept generated $482 million in sales for the US firm in 2008.
The new agreement, according to Eisai’s press release, continues to allow the companies to comarket Aricept in the United States, Japan, and “key markets in Europe” until 2022. However, copromotion in Japan will cease by 2013, with rights there reverting back solely to Eisai (which discovered the drug).*
The new agreement also launches a long-term comarketing deal for Pfizer’s blockbuster drug Lyrica (pregabalin), which is approved in the United States for the treatment of neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and the ever-controversial fibromyalgia. An NDA for the drug has reportedly been filed in Japan. According to the AP, Lyrica generated $2.6 billion in worldwide sales last year.
* Eisai says that the basic patent on Aricept expires in 2010.