NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Drug maker Forest Laboratories Inc. on Friday broke off a marketing pact with Warner-Lambert Co. over sales of the antidepressant Celexa, citing its partner's imminent merger with Pfizer Inc.|
Pfizer (PFE: Research, Estimates) makes the rival antidepressant Zoloft. The company's merger with Morris Plains, N.J.-based Warner-Lambert, a deal that would create the world's biggest drug maker after the planned combination of Britain's Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham, is expected to close by early next month.
New York-based Forest said it would pay Warner-Lambert $14 million to break off the co-marketing arrangement, and that Warner-Lambert would cease sharing in profits from the drug's sales as of April 30, 2000.
Sales of Celexa totaled $427.3 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, from $91.9 million in the prior year. Celexa and other products are rapidly taking market share from well-known antidepressant Prozac, which is made by Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY: Research, Estimates).
Forest said that it has been expanding its sales force in preparation for an end to its pact with Warner-Lambert, which has a much bigger sales and marketing staff.
Shares of Forest (FRX: Research, Estimates) rose 4/13/16 to 93-1/4 at midday.
Warner-Lambert (WLA: Research, Estimates) stock slipped 7/16 to 116.