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Drugmakers ink deal for earlier generic skin drugs

Linda a. Johnson, AP Business Writer

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Generic drugmaker Actavis Inc. and brand-name drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. said Wednesday they have reached agreements allowing Actavis to sell copycat versions of two medicines for skin conditions years before their patents expire.

The litigation settlements with Valeant's Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. subsidiary cover the company's Ziana, a drug for acne in patients 12 years and older, as well as Zyclana. That's a cream applied to the face or bald scalp on patches of actinic keratosis — rough, raised skin areas that have had long-term sun exposure and could turn into skin cancer.

Ziana combines two acne drugs, clindamycin and tretinoin. Under the agreement with Montréal-based Valeant, Actavis will be able to start selling its generic gel in July 2016, or before then under certain circumstances. The patent on the product runs through Aug. 3, 2020.

Actavis will be able to launch its generic version of Zyclara, known chemically as imiquimod, on Jan. 1, 2019, or earlier under certain circumstances. The medicine's patent runs through Dec. 11, 2029.

Actavis, which is based in Parsippany, N.J., will share with Valeant some of the revenue from the future sales of the generic products. The companies did not disclose additional details about the agreements.

Ziana had U.S. sales of about $109 million in the 12 months through February, according to Actavis. It costs about $250 for a 30-gram tube.

Zyclara had U.S. sales of $72 million in the 12 months through February. It costs about $690 for a pump holding 7.5 grams of the cream.


Follow Linda A. Johnson at https://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma.