SANDOZ/SOMERSET ELDEPRYL CO-PROMOTION TO BEGIN OCT. 1
SANDOZ/SOMERSET ELDEPRYL CO-PROMOTION TO BEGIN OCT. 1 adding 14 times the marketing force to the initial sales effort for the anti-Parkinson's agent. Sandoz will be able to add its expertise in the Parkinson's/CNS field and 800 field representatives to the marketing effort. Mylan Labs, which jointly owns Somerset Pharmaceuticals with Bolar, announced Sept. 5 that Sandoz Pharmaceutical will co-promote the selective monoamine oxidase B-type inhibitor selegiline (or deprenyl) as an adjunctive treatment for late stage Parkinson's disease. Somerset has been detailing the product to neurologists with 58 reps; the Sandoz force will permit the product to expand to general practitioners. Myland says Eldepryl sales are annualizing at $65 mil.- $75 mil. While that level of sales is significant, it has not matched some of the high expectations set for the product. When Eldepryl was approved in June 1989, some projections were set in the $150 mil.- $200 mil. annual sales range. Mylan Chairman and CEO Roy McKnight said in February that that sales level would probably not be met in the near future. Eldepryl will mesh well with Sandoz' existing focus on drugs targeted primarily at the long-term care market (see related T&G above). Sandoz' Parlodel (bromocriptine), for example, is marketed to long-term care pharmacists and physicians as a treatment for Parkinson's. The company also has substantial long-term care markets for its Hydergine (ergoloid mesylates) for age-related mental conditions and Mellaril (thioridizine), an antipsychotic. Indicative of the complexities of the age of co-promotion Sandoz recently enlisted Serono Labs to help on Parlodel, assigning to Serono the marketing of Parlodel for fertility indications. Eldepryl, an orphan drug, was approved as an adjunct to levodopa (Merck's Sinemet) and carbodopa in refractory Parkinson's patients, for which FDA estimated a patient population of 20,000-50,000. It had been available since June 1988 under a Treatment IND and was being taken by some 2,000-3,000 patients. Somerset is seeking broader indications for Eldepryl that may make it easier to detail outside the neurology specialty. Investigators involved in two preliminary studies recommended the drug as first line therapy ("The Pink Sheet" Aug. 7, 1989, T&G-5 and Nov. 20, 1989, T&G-9). However, full results of the studies will not be complete until the end of this year. Eldepryl has also shown some efficacy in ongoing clinicals for Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Eldepryl is licensed from the Hungarian pharmaceutical firm Chinoin, which discovered, initially developed the drug and manufactures it. Eldepryl pricing, which runs a patient $1,375 per year, will remain the same after Sandoz' co-promotion begins, the firm said.
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