French firm will commercialize bladder cancer detection agent worldwide except U.S. and Nordic region.

Ipsen is paying Photocure and the latter’s European partner GE Healthcare €19 million for rights to commercialize Photocure’s approved bladder cancer detection product Hexvix®/Cysview (hexaminolevulinate hydrochloride) worldwide, except in the U.S. and Nordic regions. The fluorescence-based agent used during cystoscopy is approved in Sweden, Europe, and most recently (2010) in the U.S. (as Cysview).  

Under terms of the deal Ipsen will pay Norwegian firm Photocure €6.5 million related to the successful completion of transition milestones and a manufacturing milestone of €5 million; Photocure will manufacture the product for Ipsen. The French firm will also will also pay sales milestones and royalties on net sales. Ipsen and Photocure have in addition agreed to invest up to €3 million in  marketing and sales programs for 2012 and 2013 to drive sales momentum and growth of Hexvix.

Ipsen will commercialize Hexvix in designated markets through its dedicated urology sales force. The firm says Hexvix will provide commercial synergies with its GnRh analog Decapeptyl®, which is indicated for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer, and with the Phase III-stage advanced prostate cancer candidate tasquinimod, which is in development by partner Active Biotech.

GE Healthcare, which launched Hexvix in Europe and has marketed the agent in European countries over the last six years, admits that urology is not one of its core businesses. “We believe a company that is dedicated to uro-oncology would be better placed to enable Hexvix to reach its full market potential and benefit more patients,” comments Stephen Lightfoot, COO for medical diagnostics at GE Healthcare.

PhotoCure intends to commercialize Cysview in the U.S. through its own sales force, and launch the product during the first quarter of 2012. In the Nordic region Hexvix has reportedly achieved a more than 30% market share, Photocure states.

“Ipsen is an excellent partner with its strategic focus on uro-oncology and a dedicated salesforce,” comments Kjetil Hestdal, Photocure president and CEO. “We believe this agreement combined with establishing our own commercial operations in the U.S. will maximize the potential of Hexvix/Cysview and provide long-term value for our shareholders.”

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