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Meda buys US respiratory firm Acton in $200m deal

Swedish pharma firm gains access to asthma treatment Aerospan

Meda PharmaceuticalsSwedish pharma company Meda has agreed to buy US company Acton in a deal that gives it a ready-to-launch asthma product.

Meda is paying $125m upfront for Acton, which has been sitting on a US approval for an inhaled corticosteroid product called Aerospan (flunisolide) since September 2013, with $10m in the offing for a commercial milestone and around $65m in sales-based milestones.

The Swedish firm is focused on developing a respiratory franchise to help it make headway in the US market and sees Aerospan sitting well alongside its nasal allergy treatment Dymista (azelastine and fluticasone) which was launched there last year.

Aerospan is approved as a prophylactic therapy for asthma in patients aged six or older and had been scheduled for launch in early 2013, although this was delayed as Acton sought a commercial partner with the sales infrastructure to roll out the product in the $2bn US market for single inhaled corticosteroids.

The product is claimed to be the only approved hydrofluoroalkane-propelled inhaler in its class to incorporate a built-in spacer device, which assists in the delivery of the drug into the lungs and is now scheduled for roll-out in the US in early 2014.

The use of spacers is increasing very rapidly, according to Meda. In some markets, more than one third of patients who use inhaled corticosteroids also use a spacer, and this trend should help Aerospan reach sales of 2bn Swedish krona ($300m) within five years, it said.

That would represent a major new product for Meda, which reported sales of 6.5bn Sweidhs Krona in the first half of this year but is starting to see growth slow on the back of generic competition to older products in the US market.

The deal with Meda means that Aerospan will be commercialised by a company "with one of the leading respiratory-focused sales forces in the US," said Acton chief operating officer Daniel Kreisler.

The deal comes shortly after Meda itself had been the subject of takeover speculation, with rumours in May that India's Sun Pharma was considering  a $5bn offer for the Swedish company.

Article by
Phil Taylor

2nd September 2013

From: Sales

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