Aralez purchases U.S. and Canadian rights to sell Merck’s oral cardiovascular medication

Aralez Pharmaceuticals, Inc. acquired the rights from Merck to sell vorapaxar (Zontivity) in the U.S. and Canada.

The FDA has approved vorapaxar to reduce thrombotic cardiovascular events in patients with a history of MI or peripheral arterial disease. The oral medication, a protease-activated receptor-1 antagonist, is taken once daily in combination with aspirin and/or clopidogrel.

The prescribing information for vorapaxar includes a boxed warning regarding bleeding risk. Patients with a history of stroke, transient ischemic attack or intracranial hemorrhage should not take vorapaxar.

Aralez said in a news release that it paid $25 million upfront to purchase the U.S. and Canadian rights to sell vorapaxar. The deal also included graduated royalties and potentially other payments if the company achieves certain sales targets. Merck agreed to distribute vorapaxar for up to 12 months until it transfers the product rights, packaging and labeling and other responsibilities to Aralez.