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J&J says halting development of Botox rival

(Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson said on Friday it was ending its efforts to bring to market a rival drug to Allergan Inc's popular Botox anti-wrinkle treatment.

J&J had acquired the drug, PurTox, with its 2009 purchase of Mentor, a leading maker of breast implants for cosmetic augmentation and reconstructive surgery.

"After careful consideration, our Mentor business has decided to discontinue its neurotoxin program, commonly known as PurTox, in order to focus on its core breast surgery business, where we are an established leader and see greater opportunities to benefit patients and grow our business," J&J spokesman Thomas Sanford said in an emailed statement.

Ending the PurTox development program will result in the elimination of a small number of jobs in the United States, the company said.

Botox is Allergan's biggest selling product with annual sales of more than $2 billion and little serious competition.

The drug is primarily used cosmetically via injections to erase wrinkles on the forehead. It has also been approved for several medical uses such as to treat overactive bladder, migraine headaches, upper limb spasticity and severe underarm sweating.

J&J declined to say whether it would take a charge associated with halting the anti-wrinkle drug development. The company is expected to report first quarter financial results next week.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot)

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