Breathe easy

Inhaled drug specialist Vectura has announced that it has received a €2.5m royalty payment from Sandoz, the generic drug unit of Novartis.


Inhaled drug specialist Vectura has announced that it has received a €2.5m (£2.2m) royalty payment from Sandoz, the generic drug unit of Novartis.


The payment was related to the Wiltshire-based company’s VR315, a combination product designed for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The product, which is still under development, is considered a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline‘s Advair.


VR315 is being designed for use with Vectura’s GyroHaler dry-powder inhaler (DPI) delivery device. Vectura licensed the European rights for VR315 to Sandoz in March 2006 and the US rights were licensed to the unit on a cost-share/profit-share basis in December 2006.


Chris Blackwell, chief executive of Vectura, said that the payment is ‘indicative of the progress we are making’ with the product. The progress in Europe, he added, will also benefit the company’s US programme.


Vectura claims that its VR315 will likely be a success when it reaches the market, considering that combination therapy for asthma and COPD is ‘the biggest and fastest-growing sector of the respiratory market’. The company estimates that annual sales currently exceed $10bn (£7bn).


The company has eight products marketed by its partners and a portfolio of drugs in clinical and pre-clinical development, some of which have been licensed to major pharmaceutical companies.


Vectura also has development collaborations with pharmaceutical companies beyond Novartis and Sandoz, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Baxter, GlaxoSmithKline, Mylan Inc, UCB and Otsuka.