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King Pharma buys pain-killer firm


King Pharmaceuticals’ $1.6 billion (£1.05 million) cash offer for Alpharma, makers of morphine pain-killer Kadian, has finally been accepted.

A goal of the deal is to expand King’s pain-drug franchise, which consists of Avinza, the treatment for chronic pain, and the muscle relaxant Skelaxin. They made up about half of the company’s revenue in 2007.

Alpharma gets most of its revenue from animal health products, though the bulk of its pharmaceutical sales come from Kadian. It has also launched the Flector Patch, a pain treatment.

The company also has the Embeda tamper-resistant morphine pill under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). An advisory panel has said that the drug seemed to offer some advantages over existing medications.

Said King chief executive Brian Markison: “The number one thing we want to do is start integrating these companies. What we’re all about doing here is maximising the success of both launches.”

King is developing the abuse-resistant pain drug Remoxy with partner Pain Therapeutics. The majority of a FDA advisory panel recently recommended approval of that treatment.

The FDA does not have to follow the opinions of its advisory panels, but often does.

Copyright Press Association 2008

King Pharmaceuticals

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