Vivus has teamed up with Sanofi to sell the former's erectile dysfunction drug Stendra/Spedra in a number of emerging markets.

The deal with the French major covers Africa, the Middle East, Turkey and the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Russia. Vivus will receive $5 million upfront and up to $11 in manufacturing and regulatory milestone payments, plus up to $45 million in sales milestone payments, plus tiered royalties.

The Sanofi pact comes a couple of months after Vivus signed up Auxilium Pharmaceuticals to sell Stendra (avanafil) in North America, some 18 months after the phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor was given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is also licensed to Menarini in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The news has gone down well with analysts and Simos Simeonidis at Cowen & Co said "it secures future royalty revenue from another part of the world, without any additional expenditure on Vivus' part". He added that "we also like Sanofi as a partner for the drug, given its reach in that part of the world".

However he noted that investor focus for Vivus remains on securing a partner for its obesity drug Qsymia (phentermine/topiramate).