TAP Pharmaceuticals gives Novartis U.S. OTC Prevacid rights
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
The Rx version of Prevacid is Takeda's top-selling product with sales of (3.4 billion yen) $29 million annually, according to Reuters. Prevacid's patent will expire in Nov. 2009 in the U.S., the world's biggest drug market.
A Takeda spokesman told Reuters the agreement between the firm's joint venture, TAP Pharmaceutical Products, and Novartis does not restrict the timing of the release of the OTC Prevacid.
The spokesman said it is less likely that an OTC drug's release would come before Prevacid's patent expires.
"In any case, TAP will make an effort to speed up development of new prescription ulcer drugs to be launched in the U.S. so that users of Prevacid will switch to our new prescription drugs," the spokesman said.