Mylan to buy MS drug marketing rights from Israel's Mapi Pharma

(Reuters) - Mylan NV MYL.O will buy global marketing rights to an experimental multiple sclerosis treatment from Israel's Mapi Pharma, aiming to strengthen its position in the market for MS drugs and counter falling sales of its emergency allergy shot EpiPen.

Shares of Mylan were up 2 percent at $40.65 in early trading on Tuesday.

Mylan already sells a generic version of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd's TEVA.TA blockbuster MS treatment Copaxone.

But Mapi’s experimental treatment, GA Depot, holds promise for the company as it is once-a-month injection, compared with the Copaxone generic that has been approved as thrice-a-week and once-daily shot based on dosages.

Mapi’s drug is being developed to treat relapsing-remitting MS - marked by relapses that last at least 24 hours, followed by a remission. This form of the disease accounts for about 85 percent of initial diagnoses, the companies said.

Mapi has tested the drug in a mid-stage study and is preparing for a late-stage trial to support marketing applications to global health regulators, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The companies also said Mylan would invest in Mapi but did not disclose financial details.

According to Israeli news website here, Mylan is expected to invest a $20 million private placement in Mapi.

Both companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nearly 1 million people in the United States suffer from multiple sclerosis, a lifelong disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty