Switzerland’s Roche says that it has granted GlaxoSmithKline an exclusive license for the non-prescription rights to its anti-obesity drug orlistat for outside the USA.

The deal means that GSK’s consumer healthcare unit will be able to sell an over-the-counter version of orlistat, sold by Roche as Xenical, worldwide, except Japan, as the two companies signed an agreement in July 2004 where Roche out-licensed the US non-prescription rights to orlistat 60 mg to GSK.

Indeed, GSK has just received US Food and Drug Administration approval to sell orlistat as an OTC treatment, using the tradename Alli, making it the first prescription product to be given a green light for such use.

Roche will receive an upfront payment and the financial terms of the pact were not disclosed. It will also supply GSK with the treatment “during an initial period.”

William Burns, head of pharmaceuticals at the Swiss drugmaker, said his firm “ has gained a top-tier partner in pursuing a successful OTC brand” and “we believe that GSK will maximize the potential of this effective weight loss drug in the non-prescription area."

- The firms also announced that they have agreed to settle all arbitration procedures between the two companies relating to the licensing and co-marketing of the beta blocker Coreg (carvedilol). As part of this settlement, Roche will make an undisclosed payment to GSK, “for which sufficient financial provisions have already been made.”