Monday, February 26, 2007

Right on Schedule

Over the weekend Shire announced approval of Vyvanse, its next-generation ADHD drug licensed from soon-to-be-acquired partner New River.

Once it is launched in the second quarter this year, Vyvanse should quickly inherit ADHD market share from Shire's current leader Adderall XR, for which a soft landing has already been orchestrated via a variety of authorized generics deals. But despite the new drug's approval, despite the $2.6 billion Shire paid for the 50% of Vyvanse it didn't already own, and despite all the talk of potential resistance to abuse, the FDA has recommended to the DEA that Vyvanse join the majority of ADHD drugs as a Schedule II controlled substance.

(editorial aside: is the DEA logo intentionally trippy?)

Shire isn't letting that get them down, and the decision--surely a disappointment to Shire--has been expected for some time. Quoth Shire CEO Matt Emmens in a statement announcing the approval: “The label we received with the approval letter includes information about the extended duration of effect and abuse-related drug liking characteristics of VYVANSE which illustrate benefits that differentiate this compound from other ADHD medicines."
But the authorities' equivocation here won't give Shire much wiggle-room on price and message.

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