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Schizophrenia drug nears FDA approval

13th November 2006

A drug pending US approval has looks set to be launched amid hopes that it could provide relief for sufferers of Schizophrenia.

Johnson & Johnson's subsidiary Janssen has announced that it hopes the anti-psychotic drug Invega will be approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by December 20th 2006.

The company is also soon expected to embark on a 1,600-patient clinical trial, which will reach sufferers in 23 countries.

"There was a question as to whether the FDA would put the updated submission under a two-month or six-month review cycle and what we've learned this week now puts the product on track for a possible year-end approval," Michael Weinstein, a securities analyst at JP Morgan, told Reuters.

Invega contains mainly paliperidone, a drug used widely for the treatment of schizophrenic symptoms.

Approximately one per cent of the world's population is thought to suffer from schizophrenia, although diagnosis is difficult as symptoms range from self-harming to memory problems and hallucinations.