Cambridge Laboratories’ Huntingdon’s disorder therapy Xenazine has been launched by the firm’s Italian distribution partner Chiesi Group, hot on the heels of the drug’s launch in Germany (under the trade name Nitoman) and France.

Xenazine (tetrabenazine), which will be sold as Xenazina in Italy by a specialist team of 22 sales consultants, is a dopamine-depleting agent licensed for the treatment of movement disorders associated with Huntington’s disease and moderate-to-severe tardive dyskinesia. A company spokesperson told PharmaTimes UK News that around 5,700 patients have HD in Italy, of which around 40% are estimated to need treatment.

The company licensed Italian rights to Chiesi back in 2003 in return for undisclosed royalties, under its strategy of signing up marketing partners in Europe while taking care of sales in the UK and Ireland in-house.

Commenting on the launch, Cambridge’s chief executive Mark Evans said it further strengthens the company’s position “within this important field”, while Alberto Chiesi, CEO of Chiesi Group, said the partnership for Xenazina is consistent with his firm’s strategy of developing and commercialising new drugs “to meet still unmet therapeutic needs, in particular for severe pathologies such as Huntingdon’s disease”.

The spokesperson told PharmaTimes UK News that, Xenazine, which works by preventing over-activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine, is currently the only drug available for the treatment of movement disorders associated with Huntington's, and costs the National Health Service £100 per pack (25mg tablets x 112).

The company expects the next European launch of the drug to take place in The Netherlands.