Stada picks up Sweden's Lobsor, eyeing pan-European approvals for late-stage Parkinson's pump

Levodopa is the gold standard for Parkinson's disease treatment, but not all patients find success with commonly prescribed tablets and pills. For those with limited motor control, a more sustainable treatment route is a must—and, so far, AbbVie's Duodopa reigns in the realm of patient-friendly Parkinson's dosing.

Stada's recent buyout of Lobsor Pharmaceuticals could change that, at least in Europe, by bringing a pump-delivered gel infusion to markets across the continent. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

The drug-device combo—a trio of levodopa, carbidopa and entacapone continuously delivered via a wearable pump about the size of a television remote control—has already hit shelves in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland under the brand name Lecigon. With its expertise in the field, Stada is well positioned to win regulatory approvals and boost sales, Lobsor CEO Ulf Rosén said in a release.

With the buyout, Stada gains marketing rights outside the Americas, Japan and Taiwan. The German drugmaker is preparing a slew of filings to launch the therapy in major European markets, with more filings on the horizon, the company said.

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Lecigon is expected to build out the company’s current late-stage Parkinson’s offerings, buoyed by its Britannia unit’s apomorphine hydrochloride injection and infusion treatments. 

First greenlighted in Sweden in 2018, Lecigon—inserted into the small intestine—is approved to treat late-stage Parkinson’s patients with debilitating motor symptoms that can’t be controlled by oral medication.

By providing the drug combo automatically over time, Lecigon has the potential to help patients who may otherwise have trouble sticking to treatments due to fluctuating motor control, Dominic Graham, operations director at the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, said in the same release.

Across the market, the device will face heat from AbbVie’s Parkinson’s pump, Duodopa. The pump was the first treatment approved to offer 16 hours of continuous drug therapy for advanced Parkinson’s disease. Like Lecigon, Duodopa is delivered via a portable infusion plump that goes straight to the small intestine, but it comprises two drugs—levodopa and carbidopa—to Lecigon's three.

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Duodopa raked in $97 million in U.S. sales in 2019 and snared $364 million internationally that same year, according to last year's annual report (PDF)—a 20.4% increase year over year in the U.S. at constant currency rates and a 9.8% increase internationally.

Meanwhile, Stada has been bolstering its Parkinson’s arsenal these past few weeks. Less than a month before the company unveiled its Lobsor buyout, Stada’s U.S. commercial partner Supernus submitted a new drug application to the U.S. FDA for its apomorphine infusion pump to continuously treat on-off episodes in adults with Parkinson’s whose motor control is poorly controlled with oral levodopa and at least one other noninvasive therapy.

Supernus earlier this year acquired licenses from Stada’s Britannia neurology and central nervous system unit for their Apokyn apomorphine pen as well as an apomorphine pump hopeful.