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Alk expects to launch new allergy tablet in U.S. in 2017

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish pharmaceutical group Alk Abello expects to start selling its new dust mite allergy tablet in Europe and Japan around the end 2015 with the U.S. market a further year behind, its Chief Executive told Reuters on Thursday.

The HDM SLIT-tablet, which just entered third phase in the development program in North America, could be the most important of three allergy tablets the company is developing in association with American healthcare company Merck, Alk's Chief Executive Jens Bager said in an interview.

"It is the treatment in which we see both the biggest commercial and economic potential," Bager said.

"House dust mite-allergy is one of the most debilitating allergies and is often associated with allergic asthma and affects more than 30 million Americans."

He said that studies in Europe and Japan show Alk's HDM SLIT-tablet is able to reduce dust mite allergy symptoms significantly, adding that there were few rival medicines on the market.

Alk expects royalties of about 15-20 percent of sales of the three treatments being developed with Merck. The two firms are developing tablets are for pollen and grass allergies as well as the dust mite treatment.

(Reporting by Annabella Pultz Nielsen; Editing by Simon Johnson)

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