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Canadian health regulators approve InterMune's fibrosis drug

(Reuters) - Biotechnology company InterMune Inc said Canadian health regulators approved its drug to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a fatal lung disease.

InterMune expects the drug Esbriet, chemically known as pirfenidone, to be available for sale in Canada from January 1, 2013.

The company said it expects to secure reimbursement for the drug from most private insurance plans by the third quarter of 2013, adding that reimbursements from public plans are typically secured within six to 18 months of a launch.

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is characterized by scarring of the lungs, affects about 5,000 to 8,000 people in Canada, InterMune said in statement.

Pirfenidone is approved under different trade names in 29 European countries, Japan, South Korea, China, India and Argentina.

Esbriet, which was rejected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in May 2010, is currently undergoing an additional late-stage trial to support a marketing application.

InterMune in July posted lackluster sales of Esbriet and said it expects full-year revenue from the drug to be between $20 million and $25 million.

Shares of the company were trading up 6 percent in extended trading. They closed at $8.85 on the Tuesday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting By Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)

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