Novartis Buys Generic Lung Drug Firm Oriel
April 19, 2010
Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG has bought privately held U.S.-company Oriel Therapeutics to boost its generics portfolio in the multibillion-dollar market for respiratory drugs, reports Reuters. According to industry estimates approximately 50 percent of the current $32 billion global market segment for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medicines is expected to lose patent protection by the end of 2016, Novartis'' generics unit Sandoz said in a statement. The segment is projected to grow significantly faster than the pharmaceutical market, driven by factors including a significant level of under-diagnosis. Sandoz has made generic respiratory drugs a key area for investment, partly via its alliance with Vectura. But last month it handed back to Vectura U.S. rights for a drug widely believed to be a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline Plc''s Advair. Sandoz is still working with Vectura on its product in Europe. Sandoz has signed a definitive agreement to buy Oriel Therapeutics, which focuses on developing respiratory products as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and other respiratory diseases. Financial details were not disclosed. The acquisition provides Sandoz with three promising development projects targeting leading medicines in this field. Details of Oriel''s development programs, including anticipated timing of future regulatory submissions, are not being given for competitive reasons, the Swiss group said.