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Alpharma gains exclusive rights for bupivacaine patch

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Alpharma is paying up to $263 million for exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise an investigational transdermal bupivacaine patch. The company's Irish affiliate has entered an agreement with Durect Corporation for the latter's Eladur, which is in Phase II trials for the treatment of pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia. The move will boost Alpharma's strong pipeline of pain management drugs, which includes the Flector Patch (topical diclofenac). Dean Mitchell, Alpharma president and CEO, said that the bupivacaine patch had the potential to "expand the large and rapidly growing market for topical pain products". Under the agreement, Alpharma will pay Durect a $20 million up-front licence fee. In addition, it could pay a further $93 million upon the achievement of predefined development and regulatory milestones spread over multiple clinical indications and geographical regions and up to an additional $150 million in sales-based milestones. Durect will also receive a royalty on product sales if Eladur is commercialised. Alpharma will control and fund the development programme; the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of the year. Eladur delivers bupivacaine for up to three days from a single application;the US FDA has granted it orphan drug designation.

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