GSK partner holds off generic rival for Lovaza

GlaxoSmithKline and its Lovaza partner may escape generic competition on the drug until 2015. Pronova BioPharma, which makes the fish-oil-derived treatment, inked a deal with Apotex that allows the generics firm to sell its copycat version beginning in the first quarter of 2015, or earlier under certain circumstances.

The arrangement lifts at least some of the threat to Lovaza, which analysts feared might face generic competition as early as 2013, despite the fact that some of its patents are in force until 2025. Pronova is still fighting off Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Par Pharmaceutical, both of which want to market their own copies.

Matrix Corporate Capital's Navid Malik offered an optimistic possibility for those remaining fights: "Given that one deal has been struck, I think there will be pressure on the other generic players to come up with agreements with Pronova as well." Pronova and GSK must hope so: Glaxo, which has the U.S. marketing rights, reaped $847 million in sales from Lovaza last year, and sales are expected to hit $1 billion this year.

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