Recordati has inked an agreement that will see Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings market the Italian firm’s big-selling blood pressure tablet Zanidip in China.

Chief executive Giovanni Recordati described Leespharm as “a highly capable development and commercial organisation in China” which will help expand the distribution network in Asia for Zanidip (lercanidipine), the calcium channel blocker that drives the Milan-based firm’s revenues. His counterpart at the Hong Kong-headquartered group, Benjamin Li, said that the favourable efficacy and safety profile of lercanidipine could make it “a preferable choice for antihypertensive treatment across a broad range of patients”.

Dr Li noted that more than 200 million patients suffer from hypertension, and “it is expected that there will be an acceleration of penetration of Zanidip” there in the near future.

Leespharm, one of whose major shareholders is Italy’s Sigma-Tau, has deals in place with companies including Nippon Shinyaku of Japan, Spain’s Rovi and Teva subsidiary Pliva. The news has gone down well with Recordati and its share price was up 3.2% at 5.74 euros at 10.15 this morning (UK time).