European regulators have given a green light for the use of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Otsuka’s schizophrenia drug Abilify as a treatment for patients with bipolar 1 disorder.

Specifically, the European Commission has given its seal of approval to the treatment of moderate-to-severe manic episodes and for the prevention of a new manic episode in who have responded to the drug.

The green light follows a positive opinion issued by the Commission’s regulators in February this year, which was based on positive data from eight clinical trials involving more than 2,400 people demonstrating its safety and efficacy in treating the condition.

Abilify (aripiprazole) first hit the European market in 2004 as a treatment for schizophrenia and pulled in fourth quarter 2007 turnover of $462 million. The companies are expecting to kick off its launch in its new indications during the second quarter of this year, which should give a nice boost to the drug’s sales.