Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V.'s deal for Sepracor Inc.'s norcisapride, a form of the active metabolite in Janssen's Propulsid, should not only extend the life of the $1 billion heartburn drug, but the pharma company hopes that fewer side effects and an added indication will elevate the drug's status from a second line to a first line therapy.

Propulsid, indicated to treat nocturnal heartburn due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), had