ZymoGenetics, Bayer Drug Vying for European Regulatory Approval

ZymoGenetics is going to try to crack the European pharmaceutical market. The Seattle biotech company (NASDAQ: ZGEN) said today that its partner, Bayer, has filed an application with the European Union to market Recothrom, a drug for excess surgical bleeding.

The filing means ZymoGenetics will collect a $5 million milestone payment from Bayer (NYSE: BAY). Bayer will be responsible for commercializing the product in Europe, and will pay ZymoGenetics milestone payments and royalties on product sales there.

The drug was cleared for sale in the U.S. in January, but has gotten off to a slow start in this country as hospital purchasing committees have taken a long time to meet and decide on surgical bleeding drugs.

One difference in Europe: Recothrom won’t have to directly face off with King Pharmaceuticals’ Thrombin-JMI, a long-established competitor in the U.S. that’s derived from cow blood. Doctors in Europe use pressure, or expensive fibrin sealants to stop bleeding, said ZymoGenetics spokeswoman Susan Specht, in an email.

Whatever happens with the application in Europe, investors’ eyes are going to be fixated on Recothrom’s quarterly sales numbers in the U.S. If the company doesn’t start grabbing market share from the cow-blood derived product soon, shareholders are going to be even less happy than they are now.

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