Columbia Laboratories Renews Agreement with Merck Serono for CRINONE in Foreign Markets

LIVINGSTON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Columbia Laboratories, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRX) has renewed its license and supply agreement with Merck Serono, a division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, for CRINONE® (progesterone gel) for an additional five-year term. Under the existing agreement and the renewal, Merck Serono has marketing rights worldwide, except the United States. CRINONE is currently approved in 63 countries, including China, where it was approved at the end of 2008.

“We are pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with Merck Serono for CRINONE,” said Frank C. Condella, Jr., Columbia’s president and chief executive officer. “We expect sales volumes will be higher this year than in 2009, primarily due to growth in China and other emerging growth markets. We therefore look forward to a good royalty stream in 2010 and beyond as Merck Serono continues building CRINONE’s presence in current markets and expanding its geographic reach."

The terms of the renewed license and supply agreement are not materially different from the prior agreement. Merck Serono holds marketing rights to CRINONE for all countries except the United States. Columbia retains United States marketing rights to the CRINONE and PROCHIEVE brands of progesterone vaginal gel products. Columbia announced on March 4, 2010, that it had entered into a Purchase and Collaboration Agreement to sell the United States rights to CRINONE and PROCHIEVE to Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE: WPI), subject to approval by Columbia’s shareholders and other closing conditions.


CRINONE® 8% (progesterone gel) is primarily used for progesterone supplementation or replacement as part of an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment for infertile women with a progesterone deficiency. Patient preference for CRINONE® 8% has been demonstrated in five clinical trials. This product is also available under the trade name PROCHIEVE®. For more information, please visit

Columbia is conducting, in collaboration with the NIH, a Phase III clinical program, called the PREGNANT (PROCHIEVE® Extending GestatioN A New Therapy) Study, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of PROCHIEVE® 8% to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a cervical length between 1.0 and 2.0 centimeters as measured by transvaginal ultrasound at mid-pregnancy. The primary endpoint of the study is a reduction in the incidence of preterm birth at less than or equal to 32 weeks gestation vs. placebo. Preterm birth occurs in one of every eight live born infants, and short cervix is the single most important predictor of preterm birth. There are currently no products approved for the prevention of preterm birth.

The most common side effects of CRINONE® 8% include breast enlargement, constipation, somnolence, nausea, headache, and perineal pain. CRINONE® 8% is contraindicated in patients with active thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders, or a history of hormone-associated thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders, missed abortion, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, liver dysfunction or disease, and known or suspected malignancy of the breast or genital organs.


Columbia Laboratories, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing products for the women’s healthcare and endocrinology markets that use its novel bioadhesive drug delivery technology. Columbia’s United States sales organization markets CRINONE® 8% (progesterone gel) in the United States for progesterone supplementation as part of an Assisted Reproductive Technology treatment for infertile women with progesterone deficiency and STRIANT® (testosterone buccal system) for the treatment of hypogonadism in men. Columbia's partners market CRINONE® 8% and STRIANT® to foreign markets.

Columbia's press releases and other company information are available at Columbia's website at and its investor relations website at

Additional Information about the Watson Transactions and Where to Find It

This communication is not a solicitation of a proxy from any security holder of Columbia. In connection with stockholder approval of the sale of the assets contemplated by the Purchase and Collaboration Agreement and certain other matters, Columbia has filed with the SEC a preliminary proxy statement and intends to file a definitive proxy statement and to mail to its security holders a definitive proxy statement and other materials. THE PROXY STATEMENT WILL BE SENT TO COLUMBIA SECURITY HOLDERS AND WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT COLUMBIA, WATSON, THE SALE OF THE ASSETS PURSUANT TO THE PURCHASE AND COLLABORATION AGREEMENT, AND RELATED MATTERS. INVESTORS AND SECURITY HOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY WHEN THEY ARE AVAILABLE BEFORE MAKING ANY VOTING OR INVESTMENT DECISION WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPOSED SALE OF THE ASSETS AND THE OTHER MATTERS DESCRIBED THEREIN. Free copies of the proxy statement and other documents filed with the SEC by Columbia, when they become available, can be obtained through the website maintained by the SEC at In addition, free copies of the proxy statement will be available from Columbia by contacting Lawrence A. Gyenes at (973) 486-8860 or [email protected], or on Columbia’s investor relations website at

Participation in the Solicitation

Columbia and its directors and executive officers and certain other members of management may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies from Columbia's stockholders in connection with the proposed transactions described herein. Information regarding the special interests of these directors, executive officers and members of management in the proposed transactions will be included in the proxy statement and other relevant documents filed with the SEC. Additional information regarding Columbia’s directors and executive officers is also included in Columbia’s Annual Report on Form 10-K/A for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009, which was filed with the SEC on April 30, 2010. Columbia’s Form 10-K/A is available free of charge at the SEC’s website at and from Columbia by contacting it as described above.

Safe Harbor Statement Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: This communication contains forward-looking statements, which statements are indicated by the words “may,” “will,” “plans,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “potential,” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. Factors that might cause future results to differ include, but are not limited to, the following: approval of the sale of the assets and other matters contemplated by the Purchase and Collaboration Agreement with Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., by Columbia's stockholders; the successful marketing of CRINONE® and STRIANT® in the United States; the successful marketing of CRINONE by Merck Serono outside the United States; the timely and successful completion of the ongoing Phase III PREGNANT (PROCHIEVE® Extending Gestation A New Therapy) Study of PROCHIEVE 8% to reduce the risk of preterm birth in women with a short cervix at mid-pregnancy; successful development of a next-generation vaginal progesterone product; success in obtaining acceptance and approval of new products and new indications for current products by the United States Food and Drug Administration and international regulatory agencies; the impact of competitive products and pricing; our ability to obtain financing in order to fund our operations and repay our debt as it becomes due; the timely and successful negotiation of partnerships or other transactions; the strength of the United States dollar relative to international currencies, particularly the euro; competitive economic and regulatory factors in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry; general economic conditions; and other risks and uncertainties that may be detailed, from time-to-time, in Columbia’s reports filed with the SEC. Completion of the sale of the assets under the Purchase and Collaboration Agreement with Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and the other transactions disclosed in the Company's press release dated March 4, 2010, are subject to various conditions to closing, and there can be no assurance those conditions will be satisfied or that such sale or other transactions will be completed on the terms described in the Purchase and Collaboration Agreement with Watson Pharmaceuticals, Inc., or other agreements related thereto or at all. All forward-looking statements contained herein are neither promises nor guarantees. Columbia does not undertake any responsibility to revise or update any forward-looking statements contained herein.

CRINONE®, PROCHIEVE® and STRIANT® are registered trademarks of Columbia Laboratories, Inc.


Columbia Laboratories, Inc.
Lawrence A. Gyenes, 973-486-8860
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer & Treasurer
The Trout Group LLC
Seth Lewis, 617-583-1308
Vice President

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  New Jersey

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Women  Health  Biotechnology  Pharmaceutical  Consumer