Actavis, Adamas win FDA approval for Alzheimer's drug

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a drug to treat dementia in Alzheimer's patients that was developed by Actavis Plc and Adamas Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Adamas shares were up nearly 17 percent at $17.10 in premarket trading.

The drug, Namzaric is designed to treat moderate-to-severe dementia in Alzheimer's patients by combining in a single capsule memantine and donepezil — ingredients in two drugs that are often prescribed together.

Memantine is the active ingredient in Actavis' Namenda, while donepezil is the active ingredient in Pfizer Inc's Aricept. Both are in use for Alzheimer's-related dementia.

Dublin, Ireland-based Actavis said it expects to launch Namzaric in two dosage strengths in the United States in the second quarter of 2015.

Adamas will retain commercialization rights outside the United States.

Alzheimer's is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by problems with memory, thinking and behavior.

An estimated 5.2 million people in the United States suffer from the disease, which is the fifth leading cause of death among those aged 65 and above, the companies said.

Adamas shares closed at $14.65 on the Nasdaq on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Natalie Grover and Anjali Rao Koppala in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)