The deal – terms of which were not disclosed – saw Pantarhei divest its 30 per cent stake in the joint venture (JV), which was set up in 2009 to develop estetrol, the human steroid hormone as an emergency oral contraceptive.
Netherlands-based Pantarhei told in-Pharmatechnologist.com it will use the proceeds of the deal to pay a dividend and to fund further development of the compound for other, non-contraceptive applications.
“The best way to describe the transaction is that Pantarhei transferred all IP related to estetrol in oral contraception to Estetra,” the firm said, adding that it has been developing the agent for 10 years and amassed a considerable amount of data.
“Pantarhei and Uteron Pharma jointly ran a toxicology programme on estetrol” the firm explained, adding that Phase II trials generated relevant information it will use to develop the drug for new applications.
The divestiture follows just a few weeks after Uteron was acquired by generic drug firm Watson Pharmaceuticals, in a deal worth a potential $305m.
In addition to the esterol-based contraceptive – which is currently in Phase II trials - Watson also gained control over Uteron’s pipeline of women’s health products, including its candidate infertility treatment.
Fred Wilkinson, president of Watson Global Brands and Biosimilars, said: "This is a strategic acquisition of a solid pipeline, sound development expertise, and sufficient manufacturing capacity to generate value for shareholders within the next two years, and provide the potential of multiple global product introductions through the latter half of the decade.
"As a result of the Uteron acquisition, Watson welcomes the opportunity to access resources within the Walloon Region of Belgium, and acquires a valuable source of research and innovation.”