Santarus Nabs U.S. Rights for Two Drugs in Cosmo Collaboration

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego specialty drug firm Santarus (NASDAQ:SNTS) says it has struck a deal with a unit of Italy-based Cosmo Pharmaceuticals (SIX:COPN) to commercialize two Cosmo drugs in the U.S. The drugs—which are extended-release versions of budesonide, a steroid, for ulcers and rifamycin, an antibiotic, for traveler’s diarrhea—are in clinical development in Europe and the U.S.

Santarus will pay Cosmo $2.5 million in cash and 6 million shares of Santarus common stock. Cosmo is also eligible for up to $72.5 million in clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments from Santarus. The company also will give Cosmo $2.8 million before the end of January 2009 to cover a portion of Cosmos’ expenses from developing budesonide in late-stage U.S. clinical trials through mid-November 2008. Santarus is now responsible for 50 percent of development costs for budesonide in the U.S. and all costs for U.S. development of rifamycin.

The deal has the potential to bring two more drugs to Santarus’ product portfiolio, which already includes drugs metformin hydrochloride (Glumetza) for type 2 diabetics and omeprazole (Zegerid) for heartburn. (Luke wrote about Santarus’ efforts to take on drug giant AstraZeneca in the market for chronic heartburn drugs in October.)