Horizon Pharma has acquired the U.S. sales and marketing rights to osteoarthritis (OA) drug Pennsaid® (diclofenac sodium topical solution) 2% w/w (Pennsaid 2%) from Nuvo Research for a one-time cash payment of $45 million. Pennsaid 2%, a second-generation version of Pennsaid 1.5%, is approved in the U.S. to treat pain from OA of the knee. 

Horizon will assume U.S. commercialization of Pennsaid 2% from Nuvo’s former U.S. marketing licensee Mallinckrodt starting January 1, 2015, and also says it entered into an eight-year exclusive supply agreement with Nuvo. Nuvo says it will keep its existing ex-U.S. rights to Pennsaid 1.5% and Pennsaid 2%. 

Nuvo's president and co-CEO John London said in a statement that the sale was made possible by a litigation settlement made with Mallinckrodt, who had been in a licensing agreement with the firm dating back to June of 2009 granting Mallinckrodt marketing and selling rights for Pennsaid and Pennsaid 2% in the U.S. Nuvo filed a complaint against the firm in 2013 claiming that Mallinckrodt breached its contractual obligations. The lawsuit was settled in September, with Mallinckrodt agreeing to return all U.S. rights to Pennsaid and Pennsaid 2% to Nuvo and pay $10 million.

“This transaction, together with the $10 million litigation settlement payment, have generated gross proceeds of over CDN$60 million [$53.4 million] of nondilutive cash,” London added. “We will continue to explore opportunities to maximize the value of our robust product pipeline including our lead development asset, WF10™, which is currently being studied in a 183 patient Phase II refractory allergic rhinitis clinical study with results expected in Q1 2015.”

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