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Alkermes Severs Partnership with Cephalon for Vivitrol Manufacture, Will Take Over Alcoholism Treatment

Alkermes, Inc., a biotechnology company that develops therapeutic drugs for various diseases, has announced that it has gained full commercialization rights for Vivitrol in the United States. This is after agreeing to sever its co-promotion agreement with Cephalon, Inc., another company within the same line of business.

Vivitrol (Naltrexone) is an injectable drug that Alkermes developed in partnership with Cephalon as a treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence. In a mutual decision by the two companies, the collaboration for the promotion and commercialization of the product was dissolved effective November 26 of this year. According to the termination agreement, Cephalon will no longer be responsible for the promotion and sale of the medication in the US.

In a statement released by Alkermes, Cephalon is to pay the company “$11 million to cover expected losses on the drug for the next year. Alkermes will pay Cephalon $16 million for equipment to manufacture the drug.”

In a statement released by the company, Cephalon Chief Executive Frank Baldino Jr said, “We have a lot of opportunities on our plate and cannot give Vivitrol the focus it deserves. Alkermes will be able to provide the necessary attention to this important product and we will work closely with them during this transition period to ensure that patients and physicians continue to have access to this important medication.”

In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration awarded its approval to Vivitrol as a treatment for alcohol dependence. It was to be administered in conjunction with counseling and other psychotherapeutic methods. The injection is taken once a month as an alternative to its pill form that should be taken daily. Vivitrol is said to block brain neurotransmitters that are linked to alcohol abuse. This action helps curb a patient’s alcohol cravings.

Alkermes plans to develop Vivitrol “as a potential treatment for opioid dependence, which includes heroin addiction. The company expects Vivitrol to ring up sales of between $19 million and $24 million for the fiscal year ending next March.”

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