BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS - NicOx SA and the Spanish company Grupo Ferrer Internacional SA have renewed their research, development and marketing agreement covering the application of nitric oxide-donating corticosteroids to the treatment of dermatological conditions.

The original agreement between NicOx, of Sophia-Antipolis, and Grupo Ferrer, of Barcelona, Spain, was signed in April 2004. The new deal provides for NicOx to continue to receive research milestones, as well as additional payments on the achievement of commercial objectives and a higher (but undisclosed) rate of royalties on future sales.

In exchange, NicOx granted Grupo Ferrer an option to license rights to develop and market in the U.S. any product. Ferrer will be able to exercise the option at the start of Phase II trials. Should Ferrer sub-license its rights in the U.S., NicOx will receive 50 percent of all payments received by the Spanish company from the sub-licensor.

The amended agreement also grants Ferrer marketing rights in the European Union (including EFTA), Latin America, francophone Africa and Egypt, while NicOx retains its rights in Asia and its right to co-market products directly in the European Union and EFTA.

Under the collaboration, NicOx is responsible for synthesizing the compounds, while preclinical evaluation studies of candidates for clinical development are being conducted jointly. Ferrer will handle and finance all clinical trials up to and including the regulatory filing of any drug.

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