French drugmaker Ipsen has been boosted by the news that its partner Tercica has received approval from US regulators to sell Somatuline for the treatment of acromegaly.

The US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for Somatuline Depot (lanreotide) Injection to be used as a long-term treatment of patients with acromegaly who have had an inadequate response to, or cannot be treated with, surgery or radiation therapy.

Acromegaly is a rare disease caused by abnormal secretion of growth hormone, commonly from a benign tumor in the pituitary gland and about 15,000 people in North America suffer from it.

In October 2006, Ipsen granted Tercica the development and commercialisation rights for Somatuline Depot in the USA and Canada and also acquired a 25% stake in the firm. According to the terms of the agreement, the FDA approval triggers a 30 million euro milestone payment that Tercica will pay to Ipsen by issuing a convertible bond.

Jean-Luc Be_lingard, Ipsen's chief executive, noted that this is the firm's

Ipsen’s first ever FDA approval, and "we feel confident that our partner

Tercica will market Somatuline Depot very successfully by offering to patients suffering from acromegaly a new treatment option that has been proven to be effective, and very convenient to use.”