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Medeus Deals Quickly for Skye's Depomorphine

Executive Summary

Newly-created Medeus Pharma hasn't waited long to sign its first in-licensing deal. Only two months after its creation, through the acquisition of Elan's European sales and marketing infrastructure, the firm has secured European rights to SkyePharma's sustained-release post-op pain treatment DepoMorphine for €100 million. SkyePharma continues shifting the source of its revenues from milestone payments to more predictable royalties; Medeus flexes its muscle as a viable, fast-moving competitor to larger pan-European in-licensers.

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Apax Partners paid $120 million for Elan's European sales and marketing infrastructure--renamed Medeus--to buy into the in-licensing game with a ready-made continent-wide commercial network. Few specialty companies can match its scope. But with little or no track record and a portfolio of mostly older, sometimes off-patent drugs, Medeus may nevertheless have to work hard to convince licensors to hand over their products.

The Pan European Licensing Opportunity

Since 2000, there have been almost four times more product licensing deals signed for North America than for Europe. Granted, Europe is a more complex market, and the US produces a higher proportion of new drugs. But the figures spell a big opportunity for those firms able to offer truly pan-European scope and expertise.

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