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Drug Deal Can Only Help VIVUS So Much

Brian Orelli
July 10, 2013

VIVUS (NASDAQ: VVUS) has found an Italian to help it out. The biotech announced Tuesday that Menarini has agreed to market VIVUS' erectile dysfunction drug Spedra in more than 40 European countries plus Australia and New Zealand.

The Italian pharma is paying VIVUS about $21 million upfront and another $30 million -- at current exchange rates -- within the first year of the launch. VIVUS is also due undisclosed royalties and potentially another $102 million at current exchange rates in milestones and other payments over the life of the agreement.

Menarini has more of the men's sexual health spectrum covered since it also sells Priligy, a treatment for premature ejaculation. The ability for the company to promote more than one drug to doctors shouldn't be underestimated. Having multiple drugs can help a sales rep get in the door and increases efficiency, which should result in higher profits.

Small key to unlocking value
No doubt, potential sales of Spedra outside the U.S. are important. First-quarter sales of Pfizer's (NYSE: PFE) Viagra outside the U.S. were 47% of total Viagra sales. In the first quarter, Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) actually sold more of its erectile dysfunction drug Cialis outside of the U.S. than in