Earlier this week, AstraZeneca announced it was acquiring Barcelona, Spain-based drug delivery firm Almirall for $875m (€650m) in order to enhance its asthma and COPD portfolio, whilst adding inhaler and particle technology technologies.
Almirall was developing a fixed dose combination drug of aclidinium bromide /formoterol for the treatment of COPD with Forest Laboratories but in a conference call yesterday to discuss Q2 2014 results, Actavis – who closed its $28bn acquisition of Forest last month – said it looked forward to working with AstraZeneca.
“We have AstraZeneca as our partner in anti-infectives,” CEO Brenton Saunders told investors (transcript here). “We have a very good relationship with the team over at AstraZeneca, and so in fairness, if they had to pick a new partner for their respiratory assets, we are favourably inclined to it being AstraZeneca because of our experience working with them.”
The investigational product combines two types of drug delivery. Aclidinium bromide uses a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) mechanism that produces bronchodilation by inhibiting the muscarinic M3 receptor in the airway smooth muscle, whilst formoterol is a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) that stimulates the B2-receptors in the bronchial smooth muscle resulting in bronchodilation.
The compound is currently in Phase III clinical trials and earlier this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked for a meeting to discuss the products' CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control) to be held in the next few weeks.
“As we think about the LABA/LAMA, we've been working with Almirall and now we have AstraZeneca in the mix,” Saunders said. “That's only a week-old development, but we're going to sit down with them and talk about how we can continue to advance that program in a smart, right way.”
Such discussions would involve David Nicholson, he continued, Actavis’ Senior Vice President, Global Brands R&D who recently joined the company from his role as Chief Technology Officer at Bayer Life Sciences.
For the three months ending June 30, Actavis reported net revenues of $2.7bn wiith a 31% growth in its commercial pharmaceutical business year-on-year, attributed mostly to the Warner-Chilcott acquisition that closed in October.