Bayer has signed a deal with EndoCeutics, giving the German group rights to Vaginorm, an investigational treatment for vaginal atrophy and female sexual dysfunction.

Vaginorm, an intra-vaginal application of the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone, is in a Phase III clinical programme and Bayer says research has shown that one quarter to one-half of postmenopausal women suffer from vaginal atrophy, tissue changes that can cause dryness, itching, burning and painful sex. Financial details of the agreement have not been disclosed but EndoCeutics, a Quebec City-based privately-owned firm, is responsible for completing the Phase III studies and Bayer has a worldwide, exclusive licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise Vaginorm.

Phil Smits, head of women’s health care at Bayer Schering Pharma, said Vaginorm is “an important late-stage addition” to the firm’s R&D pipeline.He added that “gynaecological therapies are a new growth area adding to our contraception business” and “our research, in-licensing and innovation efforts are all geared towards this strategic goal”.

Staying with German firms, Boehringer Ingelheim has linked up with US biotechnology company Micromet to develop a treatment for multiple myeloma.

Speacifically, they will develop a bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) antibody for MM, a disease which the companies note remains largely incurable; while the majority of patients initially respond to treatment, almost all will eventually relapse. Cashwise, Boehringer will pay an upfront fee of 5 million euros, and Micromet is eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments of up to 50 million euros and tiered low double-digit royalties on sales outside the USA.

Across the pond, the companies will jointly co-promote the BiTE antibody “with commercial terms commensurate with a profit split”.