Sunday, November 1, 2009

Long, hard road to marketplace for Vanda drug

Early next year, if all goes according to plan, doctors will be able to prescribe a new antipsychotic drug for patients with schizophrenia. When that happens, investors in a local pharmaceutical firm will surely breathe a sigh of relief.

While it's almost certain that the compound known as Fanapt will reach pharmacy shelves, the drug's future was anything but clear for most of its 13-year existence. Rockville-based Vanda Pharmaceuticals toiled for years on its development, even after larger drugmakers lost interest and the Food and Drug Administration gave the product a thumbs-down.

"Last year at this time, nobody believed in the company, and nobody believed in the compound," said Mihael H. Polymeropoulos, Vanda's president and chief executive. Today, the company has a deal for Fanapt worth nearly half a billion dollars.


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