Nycomed scores Merck co-promotion pact for Daxas

Nycomed's COPD drug Daxas may be in deep trouble in the U.S., but a thumb's up from the European Medicines Agency last week set the stage for a new co-promotion deal with Merck covering the continent and Canada.

An FDA panel voted not to recommend the therapy for approval a little more than two weeks ago. That was a heavy blow for Switzerland's Nycomed--which has been grooming itself for an IPO--and its U.S. partner Forest Laboratories. The developer, though, gets an undisclosed upfront payment in the deal to co-promote in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Canada.

"This builds upon Merck's leadership in the asthma and allergy marketplace and positions the company to leverage our well-trained sales force to target the rapidly growing unmet medical need of COPD," said Kevin Ali, a senior VP at Merck.

Nycomed's crucial presentation to an FDA expert panel earlier this month foundered on a belief by a majority of the panel that the data on Daxas demonstrated too few benefits and too many potential safety issues to warrant an approval. A company spokesperson told Reuters that Nycomed is still planning an IPO "sooner or later," which sheds as little light on those plans as the co-promotion announcement did on the financials in the Merck deal.

- check out the Nycomed release
- here's the story from Reuters