Sandoz to acquire Oriel Therapeutics

Published: 19-Apr-2010

Deal will give Sandoz rights to portfolio of respiratory products targeting asthma and COPD

Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US pharma company Oriel Therapeutics. The deal will give Sandoz exclusive rights to a portfolio of generic drug candidates and related technologies targeting medicines in the inhalable respiratory drug market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Oriel focuses on developing respiratory products with known pathways as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The acquisition provides Sandoz with three promising development projects targeting leading medicines in this field.

‘Oriel is a strong strategic fit with Sandoz,’ said Jeff George, division head Sandoz. ‘One of our strategic objectives is to offer fully substitutable generic versions of key branded medicines, including respiratory medicines. This is a key area of focus that complements our global leadership position in biosimilars and complex injectables.’

The acquisition of Oriel, which will be integrated as a separate development unit within Sandoz, also offers Sandoz access to its novel FreePath drug delivery technology. This has the potential to address some of the hurdles facing regulatory approval of generic inhaled medicines in the US. Oriel has also developed the proprietary Solis disposable dry powder inhaler based on the FreePath delivery technology.

According to industry estimates approximately 50% of the current global market segment for asthma and COPD medicines is expected to lose patent protection by the end of 2016. The acquisition will enable Sandoz to leverage both its existing range of in-market products and its extensive in-house expertise. In 2009, Sandoz invested more than US$60m in a new 10,000m2 facility at its global respiratory Centre of Excellence in Rudolstadt, Germany, which has validated full-scale manufacturing capacities for both DPI and MDI inhalers.

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