January 21, 2009 / 8:06 AM / 11 years ago

Astellas, Ono get Japan's OK for osteoporosis drug

TOKYO, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc (4503.T) and Ono Pharmaceutical Co 4528.OS said on Wednesday they had received approval to sell their osteoporosis drug in Japan, clearing the final hurdle to tap the $770 million market. More than 10 million people in Japan are estimated to suffer from osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and increases risk of fracture, and the number is expected to keep growing given the ageing society, the two companies said.

The drug, jointly developed by the companies, will be sold under the name of Bonoteo by Astellas and Recalbon by Ono.

An Astellas spokesman said a date for when sales would start and the target revenue for the drug have not been decided yet, but he added the domestic market for similar osteoporosis medicine was worth about 69 billion yen ($766.4 million) in 2007/08.

He said the companies were not developing the drug for overseas markets. Before the announcement, shares in Astellas closed up 1.6 percent at 3,220 yen in Tokyo, while Ono shares ended up 2.1 percent at 4,480 yen on the Osaka bourse.

The benchmark Nikkei average .N225 fell 2 percent. ($1=90.03 yen) (Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Brent Kininmont)

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