Forest Labs to buy schizophrenia drug, cut costs

Forest Laboratories Inc, which is facing patent expirations on several of its biggest drugs, on Monday said it plans to buy rights to a new schizophrenia treatment from Merck & Co and cut annual operating costs by $500 million in fiscal 2016.

The specialty drugmaker said it will acquire rights to the oral drug, Saphris (asenapine), for an upfront payment of $240 million to Merck and additional payments on defined sales milestones. The product, which was approved in 2009, is also used to treat acute bipolar mania.