Watson Acquires Columbia Drug

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) -- Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Friday it completed its acquisition of the U.S. rights to a Columbia Laboratories' progesterone drug in a deal that could be worth more than $92.5 million.

Watson now has the rights to a drug that is sold under the names Crinone and Prochieve, which is used to treat infertility and secondary amenorrhea, or lack of a menstrual period. It is also being tested as a preventive treatment for premature birth. As part of the purchase, Watson also bought 11.2 million shares of Columbia stock.

The companies agreed to the deal in March. Watson is paying $47 million upfront, and could pay another $45.5 million if the drug is approved for the prevention of premature birth. Columbia would also get royalties on sales.

In morning trading, Watson shares rose 38 cents to $41.03.

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