Watch out: Eisai has challenged Pfizer to a tug-of-war over the Alzheimer's remedy Aricept. The Japanese drugmaker told Pfizer it has the right to nix their partnership on the drug, after Pfizer's buyout of Wyeth at least. But Eisai's notification didn't come with any justification, Pfizer said in a filing with the SEC, and Pfizer doesn't think Eisai has any such right.
Be assured a fight will ensue. Aricept added $482 million to Pfizer's top line in 2008, and that's not an amount the company will relinquish willingly. On the other hand, Aricept accounted for 38 percent of Eisai's nine-months-ended-Dec. 31 sales, Bloomberg reports.
The basis of Eisai's claim appears to be Wyeth's in-pipeline Alzheimer's meds. And this isn't a complete surprise; when Pfizer announced its $68 billion Wyeth buyout, it made an offhand reference to potential trouble with Eisai. But it's the first concrete indication that the Japanese company wants out of the deal.