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Alkermes rises on U.S. approval of schizophrenia drug

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(Bloomberg) — Drugmaker Alkermes PLC (Nasdaq:ALKS) rose in early trading Tuesday after receiving U.S. regulatory approval for a schizophrenia treatment.

Alkermes’s drug, called Aristada, is a long-acting injectable medicine with options to be taken once monthly or every six weeks, the company said Monday in a statement announcing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. The treatment is intended as an alternative to oral anti-psychotic medications taken daily. In a final-stage trial, Aristada helped reduce patients’ schizophrenia symptoms.

Shares of the Dublin-based biotechnology company rose 4.2 percent to $62.30 in early trading Tuesday.

Alkermes, which focuses on central nervous system diseases, is developing another schizophrenia drug, ALKS 3831, which is in clinical trials, as well as treatments for multiple sclerosis and major depressive disorder.

See also: America’s mental health care crisis: A story in numbers

The drug will cost about $1,500 a month, the company said on a conference call Tuesday, though executives wouldn’t give the exact price. Alkermes said the cost for an individual patient would depend on the dose, and would be comparable to already approved schizophrenia drugs such as Johnson & Johnson’s Risperdal and Invega.

—With assistance from Makiko Kitamura in London and Drew Armstrong in New York.


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