Days after getting the thumbs-up in the USA for their long-acting version of the antipsychotic, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co and Lundbeck have outlined co-promotion plans for Abilify at a press conference in Japan.

The companies are expanding their existing collaboration which will see them jointly promote the schizophrenia blockbuster Abilify (aripiprazole) in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Lundbeck will market the drug on its own in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Romania and no financial details have been disclosed.

Otsuka president Taro Iwamoto said the agreement "will further strengthen the Abilify brand in Europe and also position Otsuka and Lundbeck to successfully develop and launch up to five more new products there".

The new deal comes a week after the US Food and Drug Administration approved Abilify Maintena, an extended-release (once-monthly) injectable suspension of the drug which will be available across the Atlantic from March 18. Lundbeck chief executive Ulf Wiinberg noted that the launch of Abilify Maintena represents his company's first entry into the US psychiatry market".

Otsuka and Lundbeck said that "while some other companies have exited the central nervous system therapy area," they are investing to develop potential future drugs, such as brexpiprazole, which is currently in Phase III for multiple psychiatric disorders "and three other compounds yet to be determined". The firms first linked up in November 2011.