Forest inks $160M deal to develop a successor to Alzheimer's blockbuster

Forest Laboratories has come up with a plan to extend its Alzheimer's franchise for Namenda past its patent expiration date. Forest ($FRX) inked a $160 million deal with Adamas to develop a fixed-dose combination of Namenda XR and donepezil HCl for Alzheimer's dementia. And the partners expect to launch it in 2015, with an improved dosing regimen for patients that is protected by a series of Adamas patents that stretch out to 2029. 

Emeryville, CA-based Adamas is getting a check for $65 million upfront and promises of up to $95 million more for a successful development program. Adamas also stands to earn royalties on product sales.

Namenda has been a big earner for Forest, bringing in $1.4 billion in sales in fiscal 2012, with a 17% bump expected in fiscal 2013. But that is threatened with the patent expiration looming in 2015, when the new combo is slated to come onto the market.

"We are pleased to enter into this partnership with Adamas, which will enable us to enhance our life cycle program for Namenda," said Forest CEO Howard Solomon in a statement. "Adamas has made impressive progress with its combination extended release memantine and donepezil program. Forest is the ideal company to complete the development of this product and commercialize it in the U.S., in light of our successful track record in the field of Alzheimer's disease with Namenda."

- here's the press release