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Lines between branded, generics suppliers blur.

NEW YORK -- Two companies well known for their expertise in the generic drugs market have taken steps to increase their presence in the branded drugs sector.

Asana BioSciences LLC, an independent member of the Amneal Alliance of Companies, has acquired the early-stage branded pharmaceutical discovery platform of Endo Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Endo International PLC. Asana is a research and development company specializing in the discovery and development of new chemical and biological entities; its portfolio consists of multiple compounds for oncology and pain indications that are ready to enter clinical trials.

Asana is based in Bridgewater, N.J., and led by Dr. Sandeep Gupta, chief executive officer, who until recently was senior vice president of discovery and early development at Endo Pharmaceuticals.

Gupta explained: "Asana's mission is to develop novel and clinically differentiated products that address unmet clinical needs and provide new treatment options to physicians and patients. Our team consists of highly experienced scientists who have successfully executed several drug discovery and clinical development projects. I am very excited about this portfolio and am looking forward to initiating our first-in-man trials for our lead asset and moving other assets into clinical development."

Separately, Sandoz Inc. has announced an agreement with Upsher-Smith Laboratories Inc. to obtain exclusive U.S. distribution rights for its branded potassium chloride line of products, Klor-Con, and market them under the Sandoz name, enhancing its strategic relationship.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"This agreement expands and strengthens our current relationship with Upsher-Smith and helps us create a leading potassium chloride business," said Sandoz president Peter Goldschmidt.

"With our extensive distribution system, we will be able to improve patient access to these products, while increasing efficiencies and effectiveness."

Potassium chloride is used to prevent or to treat low levels of potassium in the blood (hypokalemia).

Currently, Sandoz distributes generic potassium chloride. This agreement broadens the Sandoz portfolio of potassium chloride to include branded potassium chloride.

Sandoz will distribute the full line of Klor-Con products and has begun marketing the full potassium chloride line of products to customers.

According to a statement that was issued by Upsher-Smith, the potassium chloride agreement with Sandoz is part of the Minnesota-headquartered company's strategy to maximize the distribution and sales of such products.

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Title Annotation:RX/Branded Drugs
Publication:Chain Drug Review
Date:Jul 7, 2014
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