December 2, 2011 / 2:51 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Japanese panel recommends approval for Xenoport's RLS drug

Dec 2 (Reuters) - XenoPort Inc said a panel of Japan’s health regulator recommended approval for its drug to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS), and expects final approval in the first quarter of 2012.

The drug gabapentin enacarbil will be marketed as Regnite in Japan following the final approval, the company said in a statement.

RLS is a neurological disorder characterized by an urge to move the legs, usually caused or accompanied by uncomfortable sensations.

Xenoport said it was informed about the recommendation by its partner, Astellas Pharma Inc, which met the drug evaluation committee of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Friday.

The ministry will review the recommendation before taking the final decision.

In July, Xenoport received U.S. regulatory approval for the drug, which is sold in the US as Horizant by its marketing partner GlaxoSmithKline Plc.

Shares of Xenoport were trading up 3 percent at $4.73 in early morning trade on Nasdaq.

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