Lupron, Eligard

Companies: AbbVie ($ABBV) and Takeda; Sanofi ($SNY) and Astellas Pharma
2013 Global Sales: $1.73 billion
Indications: Prostate and ovarian cancer

There are several versions of the hormonal treatment, leuprolide acetate, which is the active ingredient in drugs used primarily used for treating the symptoms of prostate cancer but also approved to treat some other conditions. Takeda and AbbVie share Lupron, the grandfather product in the top-selling cancer products. It has been around since 1986. Sanofi and Astellas share Eligard, which came on the scene 10 years ago. Combined sales add up to more than $1.7 billion worldwide.

AbbVie sells Lupron and Lupron Depot, the long-acting version, in the U.S. and Canada. Takeda sells in Asia and they share Europe. Lupron was one of the drugs that AbbVie retained when it was spun off last year from Abbott Laboratories ($ABT). It was the initial product of TAP Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture set up in 1977 by Takeda and Abbott. Takeda took over most of that operation in 2008.

Before that happened, TAP got into legal troubles for giving doctors free samples of Lupron and then helping them get government reimbursements at hundreds of dollars for each dose. The joint venture pleaded guilty in 2001 and agreed to pay $875 million to settle litigation with the government. At least one doctor and three TAP employees were also convicted in that case. In 2004, a jury acquitted TAP President Alan MacKenzie and several other employees for the scheme.

Sanofi sells Eligard, which the two companies license from Tolmar, in the U.S., while Astellas has the rights everywhere else. -- Eric Palmer (email | Twitter)

For more:
Abbott picks off Chile's CFR for $3B
Sights set on Asia, Amgen sets up JV development deal with Astellas
FDA probes prostate meds for diabetes, heart risks

Lupron, Eligard

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