UK-based drugmaker SkyePharma said last week that it had licensed its combination respiratory drug Flutiform to Switzerland's Mundipharma outside the Americas and Japan in a deal worth up to $109 million.

The Swiss firm Flutiform (fluticasone and formoterol) will pay SkyePharma $19 million upfront, double-digit royalties and $90 million in milestone payments. This complements its existing $165 million deal with Kos Pharmaceuticals which partners Flutiform in the USA.

The deal specifies that Mundipharma will have exclusive rights to market the product in Europe and other territories outside North, Central and South America, with an option to negotiate exclusive rights in Japan.

The agreement builds on an existing relationship between the two firms, which now has Mundipharma as exclusive licensee for SkyePharma's oncology drug DepoCyte (sustained-release injectable cytarabine), in Europe and other key markets.

Flutiform is in Phase III trials and is due to reach the market in 2009, when it could reach a marketplace currently dominated by two blockbuster combination drugs, GlaxoSmithKline’s Seretide/Advair (salmeterol and fluticasone) and AstraZeneca’s Symbicort (budesonide anf formoterol).