Auxilium finds new Xiaflex overseas partner

Auxilium says Swedish Orphan Biovitrum will market Xiaflex in Europe and other regions

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Auxilium Pharmaceuticals has found a new overseas partner to market its drug used to treat a rare ailment that can affect the use of a person's hands.

Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB will market Auxilium's Xiaflex in 71 countries across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

Xiaflex is approved to treat a rare condition called Dupuytren's contracture, which causes the tendons of the hand to thicken and shorten, making the fingers curve inward. Auxilium is also studying the drug as a treatment for Peyronie's disease, which causes abnormal curvature of the penis.

Xiaflex, also sold as Xiapex, was approved in the U.S. in 2010 and in the EU, Switzerland, and Norway in 2011. Marketing in Europe and some Asian countries was initially handled by Pfizer Inc. Pfizer ended its partnership with Auxilium earlier this year.

The Swedish company will handle the regulatory process and marketing of Xiaflex in 28 European Union countries plus Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland; 18 countries in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Russia and Turkey, and 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Auxilium gets double-digit royalties based on sales and up to $40 million in milestone payments.

U.S. sales of Xiaflex slumped recently and Auxilium's testosterone drug Testim lost market share. Those are its only approved products. Auxilium lowered its sales forecasts for both drugs. The company also said it would buy drugmaker Actient Holdings LLC from private equity firm GTCR for $585 million. In the process Auxilium acquired two testosterone drugs, impotence treatments and two respiratory drugs.

Shares of Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc. fell 7 cents to $17.81 in morning trading.

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