VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 11, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cardiome Pharma Corp. (CRME) (COM.TO) today announced that the company has reached an agreement with Merck to settle its debt obligations stemming from the companies' collaboration and license agreement for vernakalant, signed in April 2009.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Cardiome will pay Merck $20 million on or before March 31, 2013, to settle its outstanding debt of $50 million owed to Merck. The payment will be made from Cardiome's existing cash balance, which totalled $53.6 million at the end of September 2012. Pursuant to the vernakalant collaboration and license agreement Merck had granted Cardiome an interest-bearing credit facility of up to $100 million, secured by a first priority security interest in the company's vernakalant patents throughout the world and all associated proceeds. The settlement between Cardiome and Merck will terminate the credit facility and, upon payment of the $20 million settlement amount, will release and discharge the collateral security taken in respect of the advances under the line of credit.
"Complete resolution of our $50 million debt obligation to Merck removes a significant financial and operational overhang for Cardiome," stated William Hunter, M.D., Cardiome's interim CEO. "I am pleased with the progress we are making on the transfer of vernakalant back to Cardiome and we appreciate the efforts of Merck to make the transition of BRINAVESSTM as smooth as possible for our doctors and patients in Europe and other markets. Merck's commitment to our product and our patients, and to putting Cardiome on a stable financial footing, will allow us to manage our business unencumbered and realize the commercial and medical value of vernakalant."
In September 2012, Merck informed Cardiome that Merck (through two of its subsidiaries) would return the global marketing and development rights for both the intravenous (IV) and oral formulations of vernakalant to Cardiome. Vernakalant IV is marketed under the brand name BRINAVESSTM. BRINAVESSTM has received approval in the European Union and certain other markets worldwide for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation (AF) to sinus rhythm in adults: for non-surgery patients with AF of seven days or less and for post-cardiac surgery patients with AF of three days or less. Vernakalant IV is not approved for use in the United States or Canada.
About Cardiome Pharma Corp.
Cardiome Pharma Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies that will improve the health of patients around the world. Cardiome has one marketed product, BRINAVESSTM (vernakalant IV), approved in Europe and other territories for the rapid conversion of recent onset atrial fibrillation to sinus rhythm in adults.
Cardiome is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market (CRME) and the Toronto Stock Exchange (COM). For more information, please visit our web site at www.cardiome.com.
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