Meda today confirmed it is evaluating the future of its U.S. operations, in response to a news report stating that the Swedish drug developer was exploring the possibility of selling them.
“Business development is a natural part of the business model. This includes amongst others acquisitions, divestments, in-licensing and partnerships. Evaluating the U.S. operations is one project,” Meda said in a statement.
“Meda’s policy is not to comment on these activities,” the company added.
Meda has retained advisers at Rothschild to work on the potential sale process, which may start as early as September, Bloomberg News reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources it described as “people with knowledge of the matter.”
Meda could fetch about $1 billion by selling its U.S. operations to any of several potential buyers, pharma companies interested in growing their respiratory treatment pipelines, according to the report, in which a Rothchild spokeswoman declined comment.
Meda’s U.S. operations include Meda Pharmaceuticals, which is headquartered in Somerset, NJ, with a manufacturing facility in Decatur, IL. The Decatur site has “around 100” employees, the company stated in its 2014 Annual Report.
The company’s U.S. operations also include Meda Consumer Healthcare, which has an office in Atlanta.
Meda has traditionally focused on developing prescription drugs for respiratory and dermatology indications. They include Astelin® (azelastine hydrochloride), an improved nasal-spray formulation of Astelin for allergic and non-allergic rhinitis; and the nasal spray Dymista®, combining azelastine and fluticasone, and approved for seasonal allergic rhinitis in patients ages 6+ in the U.S., as well as seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis in Europe.
Meda added the inhaled aerosol asthma treatment Aerospan® (flunisolide) to its product offerings in 2013 when it acquired Acton Pharmaceuticals for $135 million cash, debt-free, plus a $10 million payment tied to an unspecified milestone, and royalty-based milestones.
Last year, Meda signaled its interest in growing into a broader global specialty pharma business through acquisitions when it bought Rottapharm¦Madaus for SEK 21.2 billion (about $3.1 billion at the time and about $2.5 billion today).
Meda also moved in 2014 to shrink its U.S. operations by divesting its manufacturing plant in Lakewood, NJ, selling the facility to the contract manufacturer DPT for an undisclosed price. The plant is where Meda’s erectile dysfunction drug Muse® (alprostadil) is produced. At the time of the sale, Meda said it entered into a long-term supply agreement with DPT for Muse, at an “improved cost of goods.”
Earlier this year Meda sold rights to the opioid agonist Onsolis® (fentanyl buccal soluble film, CII) for U.S., Canada, and Mexico to BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI). The price was undisclosed, though BDSI said Meda will share in the proceeds of any new North American partnership for Onsolis, indicated for management of breakthrough pain in patients with cancer who are 18 years old and older who are already receiving and who are tolerant to opioid therapy for their underlying persistent cancer pain.
“Meda’s focus in the U..S primarily are located on [sic] asthma and allergy,” the company stated in its 2014 annual report.