Novartis AG (NVS) Stops Developing Long-Acting Version of Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (VNDA)'s Fanapt  
10/12/2012 8:39:35 AM

Washington Business Journal by Bill Flook, Staff Reporter

Novartis Pharma AG is discontinuing development on a long-acting injectable version of Vanda Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Fanapt, the District-based biotech reported in a securities filing.

Novartis has marketed Fanapt, a schizophrenia drug and Vanda’s lead product, since 2010. The pharma giant has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize other formulations of Fanapt in the U.S. and Canada, as well. But in a blow to the local drugmaker, Novartis gave word on Oct. 8 that it would cease development on the long-acting “depot” formulation, according to Vanda’s filing, which did not give an explanation for the program’s demise.

The original version of Fanapt won a surprise approval in 2009, but sluggish sales have not lived up to the original enthusiasm. The company posted a net loss of $8 million in the second quarter of 2012, up from $1.3 million in the same period last year. Revenue in the quarter did, however, grow to $8.4 million on higher Fanapt royalty payments.