- Novartis has agreed to license out three products for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, the big biopharma announced Wednesday.
- The deal gives Sunovion U.S. commercialization rights for Utibron Neohaler (indacaterol/glycopyrrolate), Seebri Neohaler (glycopyrrolate), and Arcapta Neohaler (indacaterol). Meanwhile, Novartis will continue to manufacture the medications and hold onto non-U.S. licensing rights.
- COPD encompasses a wide range of reoccurring lung illnesses such as asthma and occurs when parts of the airway become damaged. A study released in July by research firm Technavio expected a CAGR of 5% for the global COPD market through 2020, with sales in the Americas reaching $8 billion by that year.
"Given the evolving market dynamics, we believe these products will have the greatest impact in the US when commercialized by a company with an established presence in the COPD field," Fabrice Chouraqui, president of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, said in a Dec. 21 statement.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
A crowded market for COPD drugs may also have played a role in Novartis' decision. GlaxoSmithKline, Boehringer Ingelheim and AstraZeneca all have a presence in the space and are exploring new delivery systems.
Boehringer, for example, decided to pair up with Qualcomm earlier this year to develop a new connected inhaler while AstraZeneca has rolled out a new delivery system along with its Bevespi Aerosphere inhaler.
Novartis' drugs, all inhalation powders, brought in a combined $169 million during the third quarter, according to Novartis' most recent quarterly filing, though they currently represent less than half of the company's total respiratory earnings, which hit $390 million during the third quarter.