Auxilium Pharmaceuticals has snapped up GlaxoSmithKline as marketing partner in the USA for its testosterone gel Testim.

GSK will co-promote Testim over the next three years using "a sizeable established field sales force which has relationships with current testosterone replacement therapy prescribers, particularly primary care physicians, in the USA", Auxilium said. These reps currently promote a range of cardiovascular, metabolic and urology products.

GSK will be compensated for sales that pass an undisclosed level and will receive "specified tail payments" following the term of the agreement. After the deal was announced, Auxilium raised its full-year group revenue guidance by $10 million to $293-$315 million, as Testim sales  are now expected to be $225-$235 million, up from $215-$225 million; net loss should fall to $5-$10 million, from previous guidance of $5-$15 million.

Chief executive Adrian Adams noted that low testosterone and its resulting symptoms, known as hypogonadism, is "a prevalent, but poorly recognised condition". He added that "while the Auxilium sales force has consistently performed well in an increasingly competitive environment, adding the strength and breadth of GSK's US commercialisation organisation will further enhance our sales efforts"

Cheryl MacDiarmid, head of GSK's cardiovascular/metabolic/urology business unit, said that urology remains one of the drug giant's "key therapeutic areas and our sales professionals are well positioned to provide physicians with information on the treatment of hypogonadism". The market is considerable according to IMS data for 2011, US sales of testosterone therapies have grown to more than $1.6 billion per year, with sales of testosterone gels comprising $1.4 billion of that; a new entrant, BioSante/Teva's Bio-T-Gel, was approved in the USA in February.