Generic alternative to Novartis' transdermal patch for Alzheimer's hits the market

The first generic version of Novartis' ($NVS) transdermal patch for Alzheimer's has launched with hopes of getting a slice of the branded med's approximately $400 million in annual sales. Until now, Novartis' Exelon Patch was the only transdermal product for the disease on the market.

Alvogen's generic version, dubbed the Rivastigmine Transdermal System, will be marketed in three strengths, all lasting 24 hours. The company is the first to file for 13.3 milligram strength version of the medicine, which means it is eligible for 180 days of marketing exclusivity.

The drug delivery device is indicated for mild to moderate Alzheimer's, and its recommended application site is the lower back. Rivastigmine belongs to a class of drug called cholinesterase inhibitors. It's also available generically as an orally administered capsule.

Alvogen CEO Robert Wessman

"This exclusive launch is another significant step in Alvogen's journey. We have demonstrated our ability to move with speed to develop and market high quality generic medicines to our customers and the patients they treat. We are delighted to be able to bring a more affordable alternative to the market. We have developed over 60 pipeline ANDA's for the U.S. market, of which 28 have first-to-file or first-to-market potential. This is a clear indication of our progress and our ambition to become one of the leading players in the global pharmaceuticals market," said Alvogen CEO Robert Wessman in a statement.

In June a consortium led by CVC Capital Partners snapped up a majority stake in the NJ-based company, in a deal valuing Alvogen at $2 billion. The investors promised resources to grow the company.

On queue, in August Alvogen announced that it is acquiring four generic medicines that must be divested for anti-trust reasons before the Pfizer and Hospira can combine forces in a deal worth $17 billion.The drugs include an inhaled solution for respiratory illness owned by Pfizer and an injectable antibiotic owned by Hospira. In addition, Alvogen will acquire Hospira's injectable candidates for fungal infections and multiple myeloma/ovarian cancer.

- read the release