With Éclat, Flamel gains regulatory brains, drug delivery pipeline

French drug delivery company Flamel Technologies ($FLML) is snatching up St. Louis-based Éclat Pharmaceuticals to access its specialty pharmaceutical and regulatory muscle for a planned expansion in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Flamel is forking over a $12 million senior note to seal the deal, plus 20% of gross profit generated by future Éclat-related product launches. The note itself is payable over 6 years, based on certain sales milestones for Éclat products, the companies explain.

So, let's look at what each company brings to the table. Flamel's technology platforms focus on making safer, more effective formulations of drugs for unmet medical needs. Its technology portfolio covers injectable, controlled release biologics and pharmaceutical drugs, and vaccine formulations. Flamel also touts controlled release micropump technology for drugs absorbed in the small intestine, liquid formulations of drugs for children or the elderly, and tamper-resistant controlled release variations of narcotics or other drugs patients can abuse. Flamel may not be a household name in the pharmaceutical world, but the company has marketing or development deals for its drugs with companies including GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), New Haven Pharmaceuticals and Merck Serono, according to its website.

Éclat (French for "brilliance") bills itself as a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing "niche brands and generic products," with a focus on "creative and cost-effective ways" to deliver those therapies. Flamel noted in its announcement that Éclat has regulatory, development, manufacturing and distribution expertise. Éclat has one approved drug--the pain reliever Hycet (hydrocodone acetaminophen oral solution)--and others products in development.

Hitting home the whole "complementary" blending of each side's strengths, Flamel CEO Steve Willard is resigning but will remain on the board and work for Flamel's U.S. subsidiary. And Éclat CEO Mike Anderson is now Flamel's CEO. In a statement, he said he will develop drugs blending Éclat's pipeline with Flamel's drug delivery tech. (Contributing to the idea that everyone knows everyone eventually in the life sciences world, Éclat was affiliated with Deerfield Capital before its acquisition, which Flamel notes is its largest shareholder.)

The principals in this deal want rapid expansion in the months and years ahead. "We expect that the combination of [Anderson's] drug development and regulatory expertise with Flamel's best-in-class drug delivery platforms will create dramatic opportunities for the growth of Flamel Technologies," Willard said in a statement.

- here's the release