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Sanofi will sell Pozen cardiovascular drugs in US

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pozen said Wednesday that Sanofi will handle U.S. marketing of its experimental cardiovascular drugs PA8140 and PA32540.

The French drugmaker will pay Pozen $15 million upfront, and Pozen could get another $20 million in payments based on milestones before approval of the products. The companies said Pozen could get additional payments if the drugs are approved, and it will get royalties on any sales.

Pozen will be responsible for handling the rest of the regulatory process and Sanofi will be responsible for sales and manufacturing.

The two drugs combine aspirin with omeprazole, the active ingredient in heartburn drugs like Prilosec. They are intended as an alternative to aspirin as a secondary treatment for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Many people take aspirin to prevent heart problems, but long-term use can cause ulcers. In Pozen's drugs, the omeprazole is released as soon as the tablet is taken and the aspirin is released over time.

PA8140 contains 81 milligrams and aspirin and 40 milligrams of omeprazole, and PA32540 contains 325 milligrams of aspirin and 40 grams of omeprazole. The Food and Drug Administration encouraged Pozen to study the lower-dose version, and it is currently reviewing both products.

Shares of Pozen Inc. rose 7 cents to $5.29 on Wednesday. Sanofi shares gained 30 cents to $47.94.