Tafluprost is approved in Japan and 10 European countries.
Merck & Co. obtained commercialization rights to tafluprost for markets in the Americas, Western Europe outside of Germany, and Africa from Santen Pharmaceuticals. This opthamology treatment is already on the market in several countries including Germany, Japan, and various Scandinavian nations. It is pending approval in the U.S.
Santen will retain rights to market the drug in Northern and Eastern Europe as well as Japan and other Asian countries. Merck will provide marketing support for the treatment in Germany and Poland. If the drug is approved in the U.S. market, Santen may co-promote tafluprost there.
The agreement stipulates Merck will pay an undisclosed fee as well as a series of milestone and royalty payments from future sales. The treatment operates by reducing elevated intraocular pressure in open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension. In Japan, where it is marketed as Tapros, the drug sold ¥760 million, or $7.6 million, in the third quarter of 2008, after receiving approval on October 17, says Santen.
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