Allergan plc (AGN - Analyst Report) and partner Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ADMS - Snapshot Report) announced that four new dosage strengths for the new expanded indication of its Alzheimer’s drug, Namzaric extended release (XR) capsules, are now available throughout U.S. pharmacies by prescription.
Namzaric is a once-daily, fixed-dose combination of Namenda XR (memantine hydrochloride, a NMDA receptor antagonist) and Aricept (donepezil hydrochloride, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor). The drug is used for the treatment of moderate-to-severe dementia of the Alzheimer's type in patients stabilized on 10 mg of donepezil HCl once daily.
While Namenda XR is approved for the treatment of moderate-to-severe dementia of the Alzheimer's type, Aricept is approved for mild-to-severe dementia of the same type.
With the new indication, patients with moderate-to-severe Alzheimer's disease currently taking Aricept 10mg can start directly on once daily Namzaric combination therapy the very next day.
Allergan collaborated with Adamas for the development of the fixed-dose combination. While Allergan has commercialization rights in the U.S., Adamas holds the rights in the ex-U.S. markets.
The new indication and dosage strengths of Namzaric were approved by the FDA this July. Data from clinical studies have shown that, the combination of Namenda XR and an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor such as Aricept, results in superior improvement in cognition and global function versus the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor alone.
Allergan has been on an acquisition spree this month. This week it announced a definitive deal to acquire Tobira Therapeutics, Inc. (TBRA - Snapshot Report) , a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on making drugs to treat non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and other liver diseases at a massive premium of 500%. On the same day, Allergan also announced that it has bought privately held Akarna Therapeutics for $50M in upfront cash plus unspecified milestones. Akarna Therapeutics’ lead product candidate AKN-083, a preclinical-stage FXR agonist, is also being evaluated for the treatment of NASH.
Earlier this month, Allergan announced that it will be acquiring clinical-stage biotech company, Vitae, for approximately $639 million. The acquisition, scheduled to close by year end, will see Allergan boosting its dermatology pipeline. Allergan also announced the acquisition of RetroSense Therapeutics, a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company, which will add the latter’s lead gene therapy development program RST-001 to Allergan’s eye care pipeline.
Allergan, one of the largest and fastest growing drugmakers, has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A stock worth considering in the healthcare sector is Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMPH - Snapshot Report) which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Amphastar Pharmaceuticals has delivered an average four quarter positive earnings surprise of 456.25% and has a long term earnings growth rate of 23.1%. Shares of Amphastar Pharmaceuticals have risen around 39% year to date. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
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