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59.66 - 0.91
1/15/04 4:00:00 PM ET

Synthon to launch rival to Glaxo's Paxil in U.S.
Reuters, 01.16.04, 3:33 AM ET


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LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc <GSK.L> faces a new cut-price competitor to its antidepressant Paxil following settlement of a legal dispute with Synthon Pharmaceuticals Ltd which allows Synthon to market a variation of GSK's drug.

The Chapel Hill-based U.S. generic drugmaker said late on Thursday it planned to launch its product, Pexeva, in the United States in the first half of 2004.

Pexeva is slightly different from Paxil and other generic rivals because it contains paroxetine mesylate as the active ingredient. Paxil contains paroxetine hydrochloride. As a result, industry analysts believe its market impact may be limited.

Paxil already faces generic competition from Canada's Apotex Corp, which launched a copycat version of the medicine -- previously GSK's top-selling product -- in September.

That triggered a deal between GSK and Par Pharmaceutical, a division of Pharmaceutical Resources Inc (nyse: PRX - news - people), under which GSK will supply generic Paxil tablets to Par for sale in the U.S. market, creating competition to the generic from Apotex.

GSK had filed a suit alleging Synthon infringed three of its patents. The settlement disposes of all three patent infringement claims, including a royalty payable to GSK.

Shares in GSK, Europe's biggest drugmaker, were up 0.3 percent at 12.06 pounds by 0825 GMT, in line with a steady London stock market.

Copyright 2004, Reuters News Service

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