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Apricus shares rally on licensing deal for impotency drug in the UK

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Drug makers Apricus Biosciences (NASDAQ:APRI) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals (TYO:4502) jointly said they inked a licensing deal to market Vitaros, a treatment for impotency, in the U.K. 

Under the deal's terms, Takeda will pay Nexmed, a unit of Apricus, an undisclosed amount as well as milestone payments worth up to 35 million euros, or US$45.1 million.

According to market researcher IMS Health, the erectile dysfunction market (ED) in the U.K. was valued at 202 million euros in 2011, or US$260 million.

European health regulators approved a marketing application for Vitaros last year. It also received marketing authorization in Canada earlier this year. 

"We look forward to expanding the reach of our Vitaros product for erectile dysfunction in the U.K., the second largest ED market in Europe," Apricus' chief executive Bassam Damaj said in a statement.

Takeda, which is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is a research-based company with a focus on pharmaceuticals.

"This partnership further demonstrates our commitment to our commercialization strategy to make Vitaros available to patients worldwide."

Apricus, founded in 1987 and with about 25 employees, makes drug candidates based on its NexACT delivery technology.

The NexACT technology is designed to enhance the delivery of an active drug to improve therapeutic outcomes and cut down systemic side effects associated with oral and injectable medications.

Shares of Apricus shot up 6.07 per cent to touch $2.97 each on the Nasdaq.

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NASDAQ:APRI
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