Columbia Laboratories, Inc. has renewed its license and supply agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, for CRINONE(R) (progesterone gel) for an additional five-year term. Under the existing agreement and the renewal, Merck Serono has marketing rights worldwide, except the United States. CRINONE is currently approved in 63 countries, including China, where it was approved at the end of 2008.
“We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Merck Serono for CRINONE,” said Frank C. Condella, Jr., Columbia’s president and chief executive officer. “We expect sales volumes will be higher this year than in 2009, primarily due to growth in China and other emerging growth markets. We therefore look forward to a good royalty stream in 2010 and beyond as Merck Serono continues building CRINONE’s presence in current markets and expanding its geographic reach.”
The terms of the renewed license and supply agreement are not materially different from the prior agreement. Merck Serono holds marketing rights to CRINONE for all countries except the United States. Columbia retains United States marketing rights to the CRINONE and PROCHIEVE brands of progesterone vaginal gel products. Columbia announced on March 4, 2010, that it had entered into a Purchase and Collaboration Agreement to sell the United States rights to CRINONE and PROCHIEVE to Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., subject to approval by Columbia’s shareholders and other closing conditions.