WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) — Drug developer Merck & Co. said Monday it bought rights to Nycomed's potential lung condition drug Daxas in Canada and several European nations.

Also, the companies signed an exclusive distribution deal covering the United Kingdom.

Under the deal, Nycomed will receive an undisclosed upfront fee and is eligible for certain payments based on development and sales milestones.

Nycomed, based in Switzerland, is developing the drug to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The drug is intended for use in adult patients who are already using bronchodilator drugs to treat their disease. Bronchodilators are designed to open up the bronchial tubes in the lungs, making it easier for air to move in and out and helping clear mucus from the lungs.

If approved by regulators, Merck and Nycomed will co-promote the drug in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Canada. Nycomed will make and distribute the product.

In the U.K., Merck will have exclusive commercialization rights, while Nycomed supplies the drug.

Nycomed has already received a positive recommendation for approval in Europe, but received a negative recommendation in the U.S. The company is still awaiting regulatory decisions on the drug candidate.

Forest Laboratories Inc. has U.S. rights to sell Daxas.

Shares of Merck rose 3 cents to $35.49 in midday trading.