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Vernalis Gives Partnering a Second Chance

Executive Summary

Vernalis has bought back rights to its Frova migraine treatment in North America from Elan, agreeing to pay $55 million over the next two years. Frova, sold there by Elan and UCB, had failed to reach even the most modest sales expectations. Now Vernalis plans to re-partner the drug, hoping a label-extension to menstrual-associated migraine lands it significantly better terms than its original 1998 deal with Elan. But Vernalis needs to raise money to complete the buyout, and the dynamics of the US migraine market suggest that until it can differentiate the drug on the basis of the MAM label, a huge primary care sales force would be necessary to gain a respectable share of the market.

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Endo: Accessing Primary Care through Specialist Marketing

Endo believes its specialist approach to pain management is key to eventually winning over a respectable market share in primary care, given that it can successfully differentiate Frova, the sixth-in-class migraine treatment it licensed from Vernalis in July 2004. Skeptics point to the failure of previous owners of Frova to gain the drug any primary care notice since its launch in mid-2002. Endo chairman and CEO Carol Ammon contends that the company can inexpensively exploit the unique characteristics of the drug in the medical community and succeed where others have failed through a singular focus on specialist medicine that she claims as its bailiwick.

Endo: Accessing Primary Care through Specialist Marketing

Endo believes its specialist approach to pain management is key to eventually winning over a respectable market share in primary care, given that it can successfully differentiate Frova, the sixth-in-class migraine treatment it licensed from Vernalis in July 2004. Skeptics point to the failure of previous owners of Frova to gain the drug any primary care notice since its launch in mid-2002. Endo chairman and CEO Carol Ammon contends that the company can inexpensively exploit the unique characteristics of the drug in the medical community and succeed where others have failed through a singular focus on specialist medicine that she claims as its bailiwick.

In Endo, Vernalis Finds a Believer in Frova

Endo Pharmaceuticals licenses US rights to Vernalis' migraine drug Frova. The specialty pharma firm feels it can differentiate Frova from significant competition in the triptan market through its specialist-focused marketing approach and by extending Frova's label to include prevention of menstrually associated migraine.

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