Akzo Nobel said yesterday that its Organon unit had signed a deal with Germany’s Merck KGaA, providing it with the worldwide development and marketing rights to the latter’s oral contraceptive, EMM 310066.

The company also says that EMM 310066, which has already demonstrated success in Phase II clinical trials, represents a novel approach for oral contraception. Explained Toon Wilderbeek, Organon's president: “This late stage opportunity complements our portfolio and reflects our continued commitment to address important unmet medical needs for women seeking a safe and convenient method of contraception, be it oral or otherwise.”

Under the terms of the agreement, which remains subject to regulatory clearance, Organon will pay Merck’s Théramex subsidiary a 10 million euro signing fee, followed by further potential milestone payments and royalties dependant on future product sales. Théramex has retained rights for marketing and distribution of the product in certain undisclosed countries.