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Merck to market Santen's glaucoma drug

Japanese Santen has agreed to license Merck with market exclusivity for glaucoma treatment tafluprost in western Europe, the Americas and Africa

Japanese Santen has agreed to license Merck with market exclusivity for glaucoma treatment tafluprost in western Europe, the Americas and Africa.

The agreement will see Merck pay Santen an undisclosed fee along with milestone and royalty payments based on future sales of tafluprost.  In return Merck will have exclusive commercial rights to market taflufrost in western Europe (excluding Germany), North America, South America and Africa. The glaucoma treatment, which has been approved in 11 countries, is marketed as Taflotan in Germany, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Santen will retain the marketing rights in most of Eastern Europe, Northern Europe and Asia Pacific. Should the compound be approved in the US, Santen retains an option to co-promote tafluprost in the US market.

"Today's announcement is an important milestone in the development and commercialisation of tafluprost," said Akira Kurokawa, president and CEO of Santen. "Through this licensing agreement with Merck, we are well positioned to significantly expand our access to additional markets."

Tafluprost works by reducing elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) in open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension.

15th April 2009

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