Denmark’s Lundbeck has secured marketing rights to Finnish drugmaker Biotie Therapies Corp’s nalmefene, which treats substance (notably alcohol) abuse and impulse control disorders.

Under the terms of the worldwide deal, though this excludes North America, Mexico, UK, Ireland, Turkey and South-Korea, BioTie will receive an execution fee of 15 million euros, of which 10 million euros is payable on signing. In total, BioTie could pick up to 88 million euros, depending on milestone payments plus royalties, while Lundbeck will be responsible for manufacturing and registrations of the product.

BioTie has just recently submitted the first marketing application fornalmefene, which is a specific opioid receptor antagonist, for the treatment of alcohol dependence to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority in the UK, which is acting as the reference state for EU approval.

Two Phase III studies have been carried out in the UK and Finland in patients suffering from alcoholism and alcohol dependence and Biotie claims that the oral drug is the first to show efficacy in reducing heavy drinking.

Timo Veromaa, BioTie’s chief executive, said that Lundbeck was the ideal partner given its expertise in psychiatric disorders, while his counterpart at the Danish firm, Claus Braestrup, noted that alcohol abuse is comorbid among patients suffering from depression and schizophrenia.

The two companies claimed that more than 30 million people in the USA, Europe and Japan suffer from alcohol abuse and every year, in the UK alone, there are 150,000 hospital admissions and 20,000 premature deaths directly due to the substance. The National Health Service estimates that annual costs of alcohol abuse are £1.4-1.7 billion.