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UCB gets Japan clearance for two new drugs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB has secured two regulatory clearances in Japan, further cementing its worldwide shift to a new generation of drugs.

The company said in a statement on Tuesday that the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare had approved UCB's Neupro patch to treat Parkinson's disease and moderate-to-severe Restleg Legs Syndrome in adults.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical has the exclusive rights for developing and marketing Neupro in Japan, with UCB responsible in all other regions worldwide. Neupro is available in 35 countries.

In a separate statement on Tuesday, UCB said its drug Cimzia had been approved in Japan for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in adults.

UCB is jointly developing the drug there with Astellas Pharma Inc, with UCB manufacturing it and Astellas managing distribution and sales. UCB said it would receive an unspecified milestone payment from Astellas.

Cimzia is currently being sold in over 30 countries, including the United States and in Europe.

UCB, a central nervous system and immunology specialist, is placing its hopes on three new drugs - Cimzia, Neupro and epilepsy treatment Vimpat - as previous blockbuster Keppra, also for epilepsy, faces patent expiries.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Patrick Graham)

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