NICE likes Lundbeck's alcohol-addiction drug Selincro

A year ago, Lundbeck's news was all about its ongoing restructuring and layoffs. Recently, it has been more upbeat. In May, the company announced a deal to buy Chelsea Therapeutics ($CHTP); it has now gotten a recommendation from the U.K. cost watchdog for its alcohol-addiction drug Selincro.

NICE and the National Health Service have recommended that Selincro be an option for heavy drinkers, in tandem with counseling, to help them curb their alcohol use. It is not approved for patients who need immediate detox, PharmaTimes reports. It is estimated that there are about 600,000 potential users in the U.K. A final decision is slated for fall.

Last year, Lundbeck began rolling the drug out in heavy-drinking countries in Europe, including Norway, Finland, Poland and the Baltic countries. The company estimates that 14 million people in Europe have alcohol addiction with less than 10% currently getting treatment, Pharmafile reports.

The Denmark-based company has been recovering the last few years from faltering revenues after the patent loss on its antidepressant drug, sold in the U.S. as Lexapro. Its first-quarter sales were off 7% from the same period a year ago to 3.6 billion DKK ($670.6 million), and its earnings, excluding certain costs and one-time events, fell 21% to 729 million DKK ($136.2 million).

With its $658 million deal to buy Charlotte, NC-based Chelsea, Lundbeck picks up Northera, which the FDA approved in February to treat a type of lightheadedness associated with neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease. The drug carries a black-box warning tied to spikes in blood pressure. But the company figures its deep experience in selling drugs for neurological disorders like depression and alcohol addiction give it the tools to make the newly approved drug a success.

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