A drug for jet lag? Feds put Cephalon's Nuvigil on the fast-track for approval

Jet lag is a drag. There's no better way to put it. Melatonin, warm baths, herbal teas and meditation are all supposed "cures," but no really agrees on whether they really work. A transatlantic or transpacific flight can turn even the fittest among us into zombies for days. Now comes news from biopharmaceutical Cephalon (CEPH) that federal regulators have put the first potential prescription drug for jet lag "disorder" on the fast-track for approval.

The drug showed in trials that 427 people who took 150 milligrams of Nuvigil after traveling from the United States to Europe experienced a "statistically significant improvement" in sleep over those who only took a dummy pill, the company said in its first-quarter earnings conference call. But Kevin Kedra, an analyst with Gabelli & Company in Rye, New York, says that Cephalon is ultimately looking at additional indications for Nuvigil, including potentially treating bipolar depression. "There is sort of a bigger end market for the company," says Kedra. "Jet lag is sort of the first step."