Danish Alcoholism Drug Does Well in 3 Clinical Trials

Published June 16, 2011

| The Wall Street Journal

Danish drug maker Lundbeck A/S said its experimental drug to treat alcohol dependence performed well in three clinical trials, allowing the company to submit the drug for European regulatory approval.

Lundbeck published only a brief summary of the results in a press release Wednesday and didn't release the full set of clinical-trial data, saying it planned to publish the data in a medical journal at a later date.

Lundbeck said it isn't currently planning to request U.S. regulatory approval for the drug, nalmefene, because it is an older therapy that doesn't have strong patent protection in the U.S.

There are already several drugs approved in Europe and the U.S. to treat alcoholism, including disulfiram, which discourages drinking by causing unpleasant effects when even small amounts of alcohol are consumed. People taking it are told not to drink any alcohol.

Lundbeck's drug, nalmefene, can be taken with alcohol and is being tested as a way to reduce a person's craving for a drink. The drug works by blocking a craving mechanism regulated by the brain's opioid receptors, Anders Gersel Pedersen, head of development at Lundbeck, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

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