Warner Chilcott Buys Enablex U.S. Rights

NEW YORK (AP) -- Irish drug maker Warner Chilcott PLC said Friday it will pay up to $420 million to buy U.S. rights to the overactive bladder treatment Enablex from Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG and end a co-promotion agreement between the companies.

Enablex had U.S. sales of about $190 million last year, Warner Chilcott said.

The drugmaker said it will make an upfront payment of $400 million in cash and then may be required to make future milestone payments of up to $20 million.

Novartis retains rights to Enablex in all countries outside the United States.

The deal is expected to close by the end of October, pending regulatory clearance.

Enablex was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 for the treatment of overactive bladder, and launched in 2005.

Warner Chilcott assumed responsibility for co-promoting Enablex in the United States with Novartis when it acquired the global branded prescription drug business of The Procter & Gamble Co. in October 2009.

Under the co-promotion agreement, Warner Chilcott and Novartis shared development and promotion costs relating to Enablex in the U.S. Warner Chilcott got a share of Novartis' U.S. sales of Enablex, but also absorbed some advertising, promotion and selling costs.

Warner Chilcott's U.S. shares rose 49 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $22.96 in morning trading Friday while U.S. shares of Novartis rose $1.32, or 2.3 percent, to $57.64.

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