Sankyo Pharma Submits Supplemental New Drug Application for New

                     Combination
 Benicar HCT(TM) (Olmesartan medoxomil-hydrochlorothiazide) for the Treatment 
                           of Hypertension 
  PARSIPPANY, N.J., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Sankyo Pharma Inc. has filed a
supplemental new drug application (sNDA) with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) for its combination therapy drug, Benicar HCT(TM)
(olmesartan medoxomil-hydrochlorothiazide) for the treatment of hypertension.
Benicar(TM) (olmesartan medoxomil) was approved by the FDA in April of this
year and is available now.  Benicar is co-promoted by Sankyo Pharma and Forest
Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: FRX). 
Benicar HCT will join the angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB)
combination product category, one of the fastest-growing segments of the
rapidly-growing ARB category of antihypertensives.  In the last 12 months, ARB
combination product sales have increased 33%(1). 
Benicar effectively lowers diastolic and systolic blood pressure in
patients who suffer from hypertension, and can be administered alone or in
combination therapy with other antihypertensive agents.  Studies have shown
that Benicar 20 mg -- the usual recommended starting dose -- taken once a day
resulted in significant blood pressure reduction, lowering systolic blood
pressure by an average of 15 mm Hg(1*) and diastolic blood pressure by an
average of 12 mm Hg(2). 
With hypertension, it is important to achieve optimal blood pressure
control.  The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation
and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, coordinated by the National Heart, Lung
and Blood Institute, recommends a blood pressure goal of below 140/90(3). 
  Benicar Studies 
In two scientifically comprehensive studies, Benicar demonstrated superior
blood pressure-lowering efficacy over ARB market leader Cozaar(R)
(losartan potassium).  The first study, published in the Journal of Clinical
Hypertension (September/October 2001), showed a significantly greater
reduction in both cuff systolic and diastolic blood pressure using the
starting doses of both drugs, Benicar 20 mg daily versus Cozaar 50 mg daily,
after 8 weeks of therapy. 
Benicar(TM) (olmesartan medoxomil) was also significantly more effective
than Cozaar in reducing average systolic and diastolic blood pressure as
measured by 24-hour ambulatory monitoring, the most sensitive and objective
technique available(4). 
In the second study, patients receiving Benicar up to 20 mg daily achieved
a significantly greater reduction of average systolic and diastolic blood
pressure than those taking Cozaar up to 100 mg once a day(5). 
Benicar demonstrated numerically greater, although not statistically
different, reductions in both cuff and ambulatory systolic and diastolic blood
pressure when compared to the most widely prescribed antihypertensive agent,
Norvasc(R) (amlodipine besylate)(6), according to a head-to-head, starting
dose study presented at the American Society of Hypertension's 17th annual
scientific meeting.  When blood pressure control rates were assessed, based on
ambulatory diastolic blood pressure, Benicar(TM) (olmesartan medoxomil) and
Norvasc(R) (amlodipine besylate) were similar in terms of percentage of
patients achieving a blood pressure goal of < 90 mm Hg.  However, Benicar was
significantly better than Norvasc in achieving the more rigorous ambulatory
DBP control target of <85 mm Hg (48% vs. 34%)(7). 
  About Benicar 
Angiotensin II is a potent vasoconstrictor that increases blood pressure.
Benicar works by blocking angiotensin II receptors in blood vessels, resulting
in lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 
In clinical trials, Benicar demonstrated a side-effect profile similar to
placebo.  The only side effect that occurred in more than 1 percent of
patients treated with Benicar and at a higher incidence versus placebo was
dizziness (3% vs. 1%).  Benicar, like all members of the ARB class, is not
recommended for pregnant women. 
Benicar also has a favorable drug-drug interaction profile.  No
significant drug interactions were reported in studies in which Benicar was
co-administered with digoxin or warfarin.  In addition, Benicar is not
metabolized by the cytochrome P450 enzyme system, so interactions with drugs
that inhibit, induce or are metabolized by that system are not expected.
Benicar is also convenient, since it can be taken with or without food. 
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is called the "silent
killer" because it has no specific symptoms and increases the risk of
cardiovascular and related diseases such as stroke, heart attack, heart and
kidney failure(8). 
Today, an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from hypertension; more
than 30 percent are unaware that they have high blood pressure(9) and
approximately three-quarters of those being treated are not reaching the
recommended goal(10). 
  USE IN PREGNANCY 
When used in pregnancy during the second and third trimesters, drugs that
act directly on the renin-angiotensin system can cause injury and even death
to the developing fetus.  When pregnancy is detected, Benicar should be
discontinued as soon as possible.  See WARNINGS, Fetal/Neonatal Morbidity and
Mortality. 
  About Sankyo 
Sankyo Pharma Inc. is dedicated to developing and marketing important
pharmaceutical products for the U.S. market.  Sankyo Pharma has offices in
New York and New Jersey with a research institute in California.  A national
sales force of 550 representatives promotes Sankyo Pharma products, and they
are supported by dedicated managed care and field-based medical personnel. 
In addition to Benicar, Sankyo Pharma launched WelChol(R)
(colesevelam HCI), a non-systemic lipid-lowering agent, in September 2000.  In
less than 12 months after launch, WelChol vaulted to the number one position
in its class, with first full-year sales exceeding $90 million in 2001. 
Sankyo Pharma also markets and distributes the GlucoWatch(R) Biographer,
the first and only monitoring system to provide glucose readings automatically
and non-invasively.  The GlucoWatch(R) Biographer is manufactured by
Cygnus, Inc. 
Sankyo Pharma's parent company, Sankyo Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, is Japan's
second largest pharmaceutical company with annual worldwide sales of
$4.5 billion.  Sankyo Pharma has a long history of discovering new classes of
drugs, including the statin class of lipid-lowering drugs, with its discovery
of the first statin, mevastatin, and the co-discovery of lovastatin, the first
statin to be marketed.  Additionally, Sankyo discovered, co-developed and
manufactures pravastatin sodium.  Sankyo independently markets pravastatin
throughout the world and through its licensee, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.,
Pravastatin is marketed as Pravachol(R) in the United States. 
  About Forest 
Forest Laboratories, Inc. develops, manufactures and markets branded and
generic pharmaceutical products in the United States. 
Forest's principal products, which are marketed directly by the Company,
include Celexa(TM) (citalopram HBr), a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor
(SSRI) for the treatment of depression; Tiazac(R) (diltiazem HCI), a once
daily calcium channel blocker for treating hypertension and angina; Aerobid(R)
(flunisolide), a metered dose inhaler for treating asthma; and Infasurf(R)
(calfactant), a lung surfactant to treat respiratory distress in infants. 
The Company's current product pipeline includes:  Escitalopram, the single
isomer form of Celexa; flunisolide HFA for asthma; Memantine, for the
treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and neuropathic pain, licensed from
Merz + Co; Lercanidipine, licensed from Recordati, S.p.A., for the treatment
of hypertension; Dexloxiglumide, licensed from Rotta Research Laboratorium
S.p.A., for the treatment of constipation-prone irritable bowel syndrome; and
Neramexane, licensed from Merz + Co, for the treatment of various CNS
disorders. 
  Norvasc(R) is a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc.; Cozaar(R) is a
registered trademark of Merck & Co.; Pravachol(R) is a registered trademark of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. 


      Please see full prescribing information.
       (*)  mm Hg = millimeters of mercury -- the standard for measuring blood
          pressure
     (1)  IMS National Prescription Audit, June 2002.
     (2)  Data on file.
     (3)  Sixth Report of the Joint National Committee on Detection,
          Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC VI).
          Bethesda, Md:  National Institute of Health:  National Heart, Lung
          and Blood Institute; National High Blood Pressure Education Program;
          November 1997.
     (4)  Oparil S, Williams D, Chrysant, S, Marbury, T, Neutel, J.
          Comparative Efficacy of Olmesartan, Losartan, Valsartan, and
          Irbesartan in the control of essential hypertension.  Journal of
          Clinical Hypertension.  2001;3:283-291.
     (5)  Ball K. A Multi-centre, Double-blind, Efficacy, Tolerability and
          Safety Study of the Oral Angiotensin II-Antagonist Olmesartan
          Medoxomil Versus Losartan in Patients with Mild to Moderate
          Essential
          Hypertension.  J Hypertens.  2001;19 (suppl 2):  S153.
     (6)  Data on File.
     (7)  Data on File.
     (8)  Preliminary estimate from The National Health and Nutrition
          Examination Survey (NHANES III) (1988-91) CHC/NCHS.
     (9)  Ibid.
    (10)  JNC VI.
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SOURCE  Sankyo Pharma Inc. 
-0-                             08/20/2002 
/CONTACT:  Deborah Adams, +1-212-885-0449, or Wendy Lu, +1-212-885-0346,
both of Hill and Knowlton, for Sankyo Pharma Inc./ 
/Web site:  http://www.sankyopharma.com / 
(FRX) 
CO:  Sankyo Pharma Inc.; Food and Drug Administration; 
 Forest Laboratories, Inc.
ST:  New Jersey, Japan
IN:  BIO HEA MTC
SU:  PDT EXE 
-0- Aug/20/2002 12:32 GMT
 
 
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