Astra seeks EU okay for Seroquel XR in anxiety use

LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc is seeking European approval to sell its drug Seroquel XR as a treatment for anxiety, the Anglo-Swedish group said on Tuesday.

If approved, Seroquel XR would be the first atypical antipsychotic medicine cleared for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

The European filing follows a similar U.S. submission in May and is part of a strategy to expand use of the medicine beyond schizophrenia.

Seroquel XR — a follow-on extended release version of AstraZeneca’s older $4 billion-a-year seller Seroquel — was approved for schizophrenia in 2007. It was also cleared in the United States as a treatment for bipolar disorder earlier this month.

WestLB analyst Simon Mather said the extended release version of the drug should partially offset sales lost when the immediate release formulation loses patent protection in 2011.

“Today’s news highlights the positive steps taken by the company to protect and further expand the franchise,” he said.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler)

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