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Press Release

Lundbeck’s Brintellix approved in China

Posted on: 04 Dec 17

Valby, 2017-12-04 07:00 CET (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- H. Lundbeck A/S (Lundbeck) will now further enhance its leading position within treatments for Major Depressive Disorder (depression) in China as its newest anti-depressant Brintellix (vortioxetine) has just been approved by the China Food and Drug Administration.

Already today Lundbeck is the market leader in the anti-depressant market in China as approximately 26% of all medicines prescribed for treating depression in China are invented by Lundbeck. The expected launch of Brintellix in Q2 2018 will enable Lundbeck to make an even bigger difference for the many patients and caregivers affected by depression in China. 

“We are delighted to have obtained approval and are looking forward to making Brintellix available to Chinese patients suffering from depression. The unmet medical needs remain huge and we are proud to be able to provide an innovative and effective treatment option for these patients”, says Jacob Tolstrup, Executive Vice President, Commercial Operations at Lundbeck.

Today, an estimated 40 million people in China is living with depression, a number expected to rise to 62 million by 2030[i]. A significant portion of patients today do not receive treatment but this is expected to change with the increased government attention on the significant burden of mental health and the continued development of the Chinese society.


High pace growth

The pharmaceutical market in China has grown at a high pace for many years and is now the second biggest in the world. The anti-depressant market is the fifth largest globally, accounting for around 5% of the total world market. It has grown 19% on average a year from 2010 to 2016 when the market value reached DKK 4.2bn (RMB 4.4bn)[ii].

Lundbeck has seen its total business it China more than tripled over the last six years and expects to be able to maintain growth going forward fueled by Brintellix and also Azilect for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, which was launched in October 2017. Lundbeck is in the process of expanding its organization in China to undertake the launches of Brintellix and Azilect.

“China is our second biggest market and we see a lot of further potential here, so we are investing significantly in making the most of the opportunities presented by these recent approvals”, says Jacob Tolstrup.

Brintellix will add to Lexapro, Cipramil and Deanxit in Lundbeck’s portfolio of anti-depressants on the Chinese market. Further to these medicines Lundbeck also markets Ebixa for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and Azilect in China. Lundbeck is currently transforming its setup here from a partnering to a stand-alone model. Lundbeck today has a full-fledged commercial organization and growth platform in place in China, and Brintellix, like Azilect, will be launched by Lundbeck alone.


About Brintellix

Brintellix (vortioxetine) is an inhibitor of serotonin (5-HT) reuptake and is also an agonist at 5-HT1A receptors, a partial agonist at 5-HT1B receptors and an antagonist at 5-HT3, 5-HT1D and 5-HT7 receptors. Brintellix is the only drug with this pharmacological profile, although the translation of the mechanism of action to antidepressant activity is not fully understood.

Brintellix was discovered by Lundbeck researchers in Copenhagen, Denmark, and developed in partnership with Takeda. To date, the estimated cumulative exposure from post marketing sources is more than 2 million patient-years.


Mads Kronborg                                                                                                                                                                            

Senior Director, Corporate Communication                                                              

Phone: +45 36 43 40 00                                                                         


About Lundbeck

H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN.CO, LUN DC, HLUYY) is a global pharmaceutical company specialized in psychiatric and neurological disorders. For more than 70 years, we have been at the forefront of research within neuroscience. Our key areas of focus are depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

An estimated 700 million people worldwide are living with psychiatric and neurological disorders and far too many suffer due to inadequate treatment, discrimination, a reduced number of working days, early retirement and other unnecessary consequences. Every day, we strive for improved treatment and a better life for people living with psychiatric and neurological disorders – we call this Progress in Mind.


Our approximately 5,000 employees in 55 countries are engaged in the entire value chain throughout research, development, production, marketing and sales. Our pipeline consists of several late-stage development programmes and our products are available in more than 100 countries. We have research centres in China and Denmark and production facilities in China, Denmark, France and Italy. Lundbeck generated revenue of DKK 15.6 billion in 2016 (EUR 2.1 billion; USD 2.3 billion).

For additional information, we encourage you to visit our corporate site and connect with us on Twitter at @Lundbeck.


[i] IMS Analysis 2017, IMS Pharma Insight Report: Chinese Statistic Yearbook,  MDD epidemiology study and reviews, Treatment guideline of MDD, KOL interview; Prevalence of mental, neurological, and substance use disorders in China and India: a systematic analysis, Lancet Psychiatry 2016 3: 832–41; Epidemiology of Major Depressive Disorder in Mainland China: A Systematic Review, PLoS ONE 2013 8(6): e65356.

[ii] IMS Health Analytics Link 2016.


Last updated on: 04/12/2017

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