SkyePharma's good week has continued with the news that the UK firm has amended its finance facility and also entered into an agreement with Aenova to increase use of its manufacturing facility in France.

Aenova, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aenova Holding, a German-based pharmaceutical contract manufacturing organisation, has agreed to lease the  business and premises at Saint Quentin-Fallavier, Lyon, for an initial period of two years, which can be extended for a further three years. SkyePharma says the deal "aims to increase utilisation rates and reduce the dependency on relatively few products and the risk of losses".

Aenova will pay rent at a rate of 1 million euros per annum in cash for the first two years (with the first six months' rent free) and if renewed at the end of the first two years, the rent is increased to 2 million euros.

The deal was announced just as SkyePharma also noted that it has entered into an amendment agreement in respect of its existing finance facility "to enhance the group’s anticipated short-term liquidity position".

Under the new arrangement, the obligation to pay 50% of further milestone payments or signing fees in respect of licences for the firm's flagship asthma combination drug Flutiform (fluticasone and formoterol), up to approximately $9 million, will be deferred until September 2013.  The interest rate applicable to the facility has been increased by 2%.

Prior to this amendment, the company anticipated that $9 million of prepayments would fall due over the next two years, mainly out of launch milestones anticipated to be received following launches of Flutiform in major European countries.

SkyePharma's chief financial officer Peter Grant, said "this is the first of what we hope will be a number of initiatives to enhance the prospective liquidity position". Retaining the proceeds of milestones and signing fees "will assist with funding the working capital requirements related to the supply of Flutiform during its critical launch period".

Flutiform deal with Sanofi

At the end of last week, SkyePharma announced an agreement with Sanofi to develop and sell Flutiform in Mexico, Central and South America.  Under the terms of that deal, SkyePharma is eligible for milestones "potentially worth several million dollars and a high-single digit percentage royalty on net sales".

The European Marketing Authorisation application for Flutiform is currently under review and SkyePharma says preparations continue to be made for the potential launch in Europe in the second half of this year.