Forest Laboratories and partner Lundbeck look set to sign a deal with generics company, Alphapharm, to settle litigation relating to the antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram). The signing will mean Alphapharm – a subsidiary of Merck KGaA of Germany – becomes exclusive distributor of generic Lexapro.

However, Forest and Lundbeck still have a December court case looming against Ivax Pharmaceuticals and Cipla Ltd. This is not affected by the deal with Alphapharm, but the decision could impact on how soon the latter is able to launch a copycat offering: if Forest and Lundbeck are successful, the distribution arrangement comes into effect just two weeks prior to the expiration of patent ‘712, but if the patent is declared invalid, the deal would commence upon introduction of generic Lexapro from another party. Forest will receive a portion of the profit from generic sales of Lexapro by Alphapharm, in return for reimbursement of some of the latter’s legal fees relating to the case.

The trial date was originally pushed back from May to December after Alphapharm accused Lundbeck of destroying evidence [[29/04/05f]].