And that will spell [more] bad news for the Vytorin/Zetia franchises. Astra Zeneca's Crestor® will now be part of Abbott's marketing juggernaut in the United States -- via Reuters' reporting, this morning:
. . . .Abbott will obtain the nonexclusive right to promote Crestor® alongside AstraZeneca in the United States, excluding Puerto Rico. Terms were not released.
Sales of Crestor®, Astra's third-largest drug, soared 35 percent to $916 million in the second quarter.
Crestor sales have been benefiting from surprisingly [but not to regular readers of this blog -- see this much earlier item! -- Ed.] positive clinical trial results and from setbacks involving Vytorin, a rival cholesterol drug sold in partnership by Merck & Co and Schering-Plough Corp.
AstraZeneca said the deal would enable it to leverage Abbott's presence among doctors who prescribe cholesterol medicines.
Abbott, based in suburban Chicago, also sells Niaspan®, for raising "good" cholesterol, and TriCor®, which targets triglycerides.
The companies in 2006 announced an agreement to develop a combination pill melding the main ingredients in Crestor® and TriLipix®, a next-generation version of TriCor®. They plan to seek U.S. approval for the product in the second half of next year.
An application for Abbott's TriLipix® is under U.S. regulatory review as a single product. . . .
I suspect Schering's July IMS 'scrip data (due out very shortly) will show renewed, and additional, erosion in the Vytorin/Zetia franchises, after the disappointing July 21, 2008 SEAS trial results.
[For an earlier item on Abbott's invasion of another Schering franchise, see this post -- and the small graphic, at left. It seems Abbott's Humira®, is effective for at least a three year duration, in treating ankylosing spondylitis (AS) -- an indication, disease and/or condition for which Schering has a drug candidate (not yet approved) in Europe. As Schering seeks EU approval, it is certain that the EU authorities will take note of the efficacy of the tried and true Humira® -- already there approved, and consider whether Schering adds anything of significance to the mix. In Europe, because country-level governments are the most important payers, cost/benefit is far more likely to be a factor in EU regulatory approvals.]