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Sanofi-Aventis acquires marketing rights to Xyzal

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Sanofi-Aventis assumes the U.S. marketing rights to UCB's prescription allergy drug Xyzal (levocetirizine dihydrochloride), which could be a future switch candidate. Belgium-based UCB licensed the marketing rights to Sanofi as part of an accelerated plan to transition its U.S. business to a purely specialty-focused biopharmaceutical company, UCB announced Jan. 29. The firm says it will exit the primary care market March 1. However, UCB will continue to receive a percentage of Xyzal profits, according to the release. The deal comes weeks after Sanofi acquired U.S.-based Chattem with the intention of using the company to switch its prescription allergy drug Allegra (1"The Tan Sheet" Jan. 4, 2010). The French firm may have plans for Xyzal to follow a similar potential switch path. Xyzal's patent exclusivity expires in 2013 and the drug is the follow-on to cetirizine - the active ingredient in McNeil Consumer Healthcare's OTC allergy drug Zyrtec. Sanofi is expanding its OTC business through acquisitions, mergers and joint ventures, like its partnership with Minsheng Pharmaceutical Group in China (see story p. 6)

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