Japan approves Elan nanocrystal drug

ELAN’s drug delivery business, Elan Drug Technologies, is set to benefit from the first drug using its patented nanocrystal technology being approved for the Japanese market.

Emend, a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and developed by a subsidiary of international pharmaceutical giant, Merck has gained approval by the Japanese Ministry of Health after the drug proved to be effective for both acute and delayed phases of nausea andvomiting in Japanese clinical trials.

“The Japanese approval is an incremental positive for EDT, particularly as the first product incorporating nanocrystal technology to gain approval in the country,” said Ian Hunter of Goodbody Stockbrokers.

The drug is already approved for use outside Japan. Internationally, it generated $263.8m (€179m) in revenue for Merck in the company’s last full year and $228.1m in the nine months to September 2009.

While Elan does not breakout the royalty revenues EDT gains for the drug, Mr Hunter added that given a conservative 5% share, it would equate to $13m for last year and $11m year to date for the Athlone-based company in royalty revenue.

“The approval of Emend is a significant achievement for our nanocrystal technology, as it marks the first Japanese approval of a product incorporating this technology in this very important market,” added EDT head and Elan executive vice president/chief financial officer Shane Cooke.

The Japanese news is the latest in a recent string of good news announcements for EDT. In August, Janssen-Cilag announced that the FDA had approved its Invega Sustenna treatment for schizophrenia in the US.


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