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BOTOX® vs Xeomin

xeomin photoThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Xeomin, an alternative to BOTOX®, for the treatment of severe frown lines on July 20, 2011. On March 6, 2012, the company that makes BOTOX® injections won a court order that could block the rival company from marketing and selling Xeomin as a wrinkle treatment.

The lawsuit filed by Allergen centers around claims that Merz Pharma GmbH stole trade secrets. After listening to the closing arguments presented following a bench trial that lasted for 11 days, U.S. Judge Andrew J. Guilford ruled against the makers of Xeomin, stating that the company had misappropriated some proprietary information obtained from Allergen employees. The judge went on to explain that certain Allergen employees had taken company information with them when leaving to accept positions with Merz, their new employer.

BOTOX®, Xeomin, and another drug known as Dysport, share several similarities. Like BOTOX®, Xeomin blocks the actions of the nerves, keeping the nerve impulse from reaching the muscle and causing furrowing or frown lines. These types of drugs create a temporary paralysis in the targeted nerves for a period lasting between three and six months. This action serves to relax the underlying muscles and creates facial features that appear smoother and softened. Unlike BOTOX® and other botulinum products, Xeomin does not require refrigeration. This single element adds an important factor in making Xeomin a significant contender in the anti-aging market. Because Xeomin contains nothing but botulinum toxin type A, patients using this product may have a decreased risk of developing antibodies in response to foreign substances, as compared to patients using similar products that contain additives.

"Like BOTOX®, Xeomin blocks

the actions of the nerves, keeping the nerve
impulse from reaching the muscle
and causing furrowing or frown lines."

As part of the lawsuit, Allergen claimed that their competitor had targeted Allergen sales reps, enticing these individuals to provide company information that should have remained confidential, such as customer lists and sales figures. Merz defended its position by contending that the materials received were neither misappropriated nor were they confidential trade secrets. They also stated that Merz employees did not see or use the materials. The terms of the injunction imposed by Judge Guilford prohibits Merz from selling their BOTOX® alternative for a period of 10 months. The court ruling does not affect Merz’s ability to continue marketing and selling Xeomin as a drug used to treat certain physical disorders, such as abnormal spasm of the eyelids and cervical dystonia, a medical condition that causes neck pain and abnormal head position in adults. This type of treatment usage also mirrors the drug history of BOTOX®. Although BOTOX® has a long history of use in the medical field as a treatment for nerve and muscle disorders, it didn’t receive the FDA’s clearance as a cosmetic treatment until April of 2002. BOTOX® continues to evolve. This popular wrinkle-reducer is also being used to reduce underarm sweating and has recently entered the arena of migraine medications. The lawsuit filed by the makers of BOTOX® only focuses on the use of Xeomin as an alternative to BOTOX®, in the context of selling it to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. According to statements made by the attorneys for Merz during the closing arguments, a lengthy ban on the sale of Xeomin may put the company out of business.

by Laura Wallace

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