Astra And Pozen Get European Backing For Vimovo

LONDON (AP) -- AstraZeneca PLC and Pozen Inc. say their osteoarthritis drug Vimovo has received backing for market approval in 23 countries in the European Union.

The two companies said Monday that the drug is indicated for the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and a type of arthritis of the spine called ankylosing spondylitis. The 23 countries will now pursue pricing agreements and national approvals for the drug.

Vimovo has already been approved for use in the United States.

The drug is a combination of naproxen, a common painkiller, and esomeprazole magnesium, which is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in the heartburn drug Nexium.

AstraZeneca shares are up 0.5 percent at 3,288.5 pence ($52.43) in midmorning trade on the London Stock Exchange.