Almirall has signed a deal with Pfizer which will see the Spanish drugmaker co-market the cardiovascular treatment Caduet, which combines the US giant’s Lipitor and off-patent Norvasc.

The Barcelona-based firm will co-market Caduet (atorvastatin/amlodipine) under the brand name Astucor once the product is launched in Spain in the first quarter of next year. Pfizer has been selling the combo since 2004 in the USA, France, Austria, Switzerland and Turkey.

Almirall said Astucor data has shown that the drug reduces the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction and fatal coronary disease by 53% in patients suffering from hypertension. Chief executive Jorge Gallardo said that the deal strengthens his firm’s cardiovascular portfolio.

Caduet was seen as an important new product for Pfizer on its launch over four years ago, but three years ago, the New York-based firm was forced to withdraw its application to market Caduet in 12 European countries. The reason was that regulatory authorities in certain countries were not convinced that the efficacy of the combo had been demonstrated.

Selling Januvia in Spain too
The Pfizer link-up represents Almirall’s second deal with a major in a week. The firm signed an agreement to co-market Merck Sharp & Dohme’s type 2 diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) under the brand name Tesavel.

The agreement will also see Almirall market the combo Janumet (sitagliptin plus metformin), which will be launched in Spain in 2009 and sold as Efficib. Mr Gallardo noted that the firm is “actively seeking new business opportunities through licence agreements that will enable us to extend our product portfolio”.