Firm says that acquisition includes promising pipeline and drug delivery technologies for inhaled formulations.

Novartis’ generics business Sandoz is to acquire respiratory drugs specialist Oriel Therapeutics. The U.S. firm is focused on developing products with known pathways as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Sandoz says that the deal will give it three promising projects targeting leading drugs in the respiratory field. The company will also have access to Oriel’s FreePath™ drug delivery technology and Solis™ disposable dry powder inhaler, which is based on the FreePath platform. The FreePath technology has the potential to address some problems relating to regulatory approval of generic inhaled drugs in the U.S, according to Sandoz.

The firm plans to integrate Oriel as a separate development unit. Sandoz recently invested over $60 million into a new 10,000 square meter facility at its global respiratory center of excellence in Germany, which houses validated full-scale manufacturing capabilities for both DPI and MDI inhalers.

“Oriel is a strong strategic fit with Sandoz,” comments Jeff George, division head at Sandoz. “One of our objectives is to offer fully substitutable generic versions of key branded medicines including respiratory medicines.”

In 2009, Sandoz launched a generic salbutamol in a number of European countries. The firm is separately collaborating with companies in the respiratory field and has access to Novartis Pharmaceuticals’ expertise in respiratory disease therapy.

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