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Valeant's Cholesterol Drug Colesevelam Wins Health Canada Approval

From Canadian Press DataFile (September 28, 2011)

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Valeant Pharmaceuticals International says it has received Canadian regulatory approval for its cholesterol-lowering drug Colesevelam Hydrochloride.

Chief executive Michael Pearson said Colesevelam is a strong addition to its Canadian business and will be a complementary fit with its existing existing Tiazac XC drug.

Colesevelam is an oral drug developed by Genzyme and marketed in the U.S. by Daiichi Sankyo under the brand name WelChol and elsewhere under the tradename Cholestagel.

Reducing bad LDL-C cholesterol is the best way to manage cardiovascular disease, the cause of one in three deaths in Canada.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society has recently adopted more aggressive LDL-C targets but many patients are unable to attain the targets or suffer adverse side-effects.

The launch of new drugs, such as Colesevelam, that can be added to existing medications will help many of these patients to lower their LDL targets, says Dr. Jean Davignon of the Montreal clinical research institute.

Unlike most other cholesterol-lowering drugs, Colesevelam is not absorbed into the bloodstream because it binds bile acids in the intestine.

Valeant (TSX:VRX) is a multi-national specialty pharmaceutical company that develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of pharmaceutical products primarily in the areas of neurology, dermatology and branded generics.

The company, formerly known as Biovail, recently sweetened its offer for Afexa Life Sciences (TSX:FXA), the Edmonton-based maker of Cold-FX, after rival Paladin Labs (TSX:PLB) raised its hostile bid.

Posted: September 2011