Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

FDA revokes approval for Sun Pharma's epilepsy drug

Sun Pharma says US FDA revoked the approval citing manufacturing quality issues at its production site

Mumbai: The US Food and Drug Administration has revoked an approval issued in March to India's Sun Pharma Advanced Research Company Ltd (SPARC) to launch a drug for seizures, citing manufacturing quality problems at its production site.

The move comes as a setback to SPARC, the research arm of India's largest drugmaker, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. The drug, Elepsia XR, was its first to receive an FDA approval.

The company said in June it had been working "very aggressively" to find partners for the product. It had "some advanced discussions" and aimed to launch the drug by the second half of fiscal 2016.

Analysts estimated modest sales of about $50 million annually from Elepsia XR.

SPARC had said it would produce the drug at Sun Pharma's Halol plant, in Gujarat, as an adjunct treatment for partial onset seizures in epilepsy patients of 12 years and older.

Most analysts saw the approval as positive mainly because it came despite the FDA having expressed concerns a year ago about manufacturing processes at the Halol plant.

Sun Pharma had been working on fixing the issues the FDA outlined and some analysts said the approval allayed fears of a possible adverse FDA action at Halol.

On Saturday, SPARC said the FDA issued it a "Complete Response Letter" in which it said "the compliance status of the manufacturing facility was not acceptable on the date of approval".

It said Sun Pharma "has taken several corrective measures" to fix problems at the plant.