Ranbaxy nabs exclusive Aricept rights

Ranbaxy Laboratories got some good news--news so good its stock rose to the highest level in more than two years in Mumbai. The company discovered it has first-to-market exclusivity on a generic version of Eisai's Alzheimer's treatment Aricept. That means 180 days of marketing the copycat drug without other generics makers getting in the way.

Analysts say that just six months of exclusivity could make a $300 million difference to Ranbaxy's bottom line. The company can launch its version as early as Nov. 25, when the patent expires, Bloomberg reports. Ranbaxy officials declined to comment.

Now, the question is whether Ranbaxy can execute. The company has had trouble with that lately; it's still trying to work out some manufacturing problems at plants in India so that drugs made there can go back onto the U.S. market. The company also fumbled an exclusive launch of Astellas Pharma's prostate drug Flomax earlier this year. It had eight weeks of exclusivity, but wasn't ready when the March launch date arrived because FDA hadn't yet approved its version. The FDA approval is in hand this time.

- see the Bloomberg story