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More negotiations for Forbes, Novartis


Forbes Medi-Tech, the Canadian firm which produces products for the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries, has extended its negotiations with Novartis, the Swiss drug group, over the the rights to Reducol, the cholesterol-lowering ingredient created by Forbes.

Negotiations were due to have been concluded by 18 June, but Forbes said that the deadline would not be met and that a further period of talks would be required.

Reducol was created by Forbes Medi-Tech and licensed to Novartis in 1999. It has been used in a number of products promoted as lowering cholesterol marketed by Altus, a joint venture company owned by the Swiss drugs group and US-based Quaker.

However, that venture was dissolved earlier this year after the functional food market failed to grow as the two companies had hoped - and undoubtedly as a result of Quaker's acquisition by drinks giant PepsiCo, which had less interest in that sector.

As a result of this, Forbes has been negotiating with Novartis over the rights to Reducol, including the name, since Forbes called its ingredient Phytrol while the Reducol brand created was Novartis. At one stage the deal seemed to have been done, but disagreements arose at the last minute over rights, prompting the extension of talks between the two groups.

"Negotiations with Novartis are progressing very well and we are confident that an amicable and mutually beneficial settlement will be reached shortly," said Charles Butt, president and CEO of Forbes.