HOLZKIRCHEN, Germany — Sandoz plans to acquire U.S. pharmaceuticals company Oriel Therapeutics, which the Novartis division said would give it exclusive rights to a portfolio of generic drug candidates and related technologies in the inhalable respiratory drug market.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Plans call for Oriel to be integrated as a separate development unit within Sandoz.
"Oriel is a strong strategic fit with Sandoz, and the acquisition is expected to support our strategy of increasing the number of differentiated, higher-value products in our development pipeline," Jeff George, division head at Sandoz, said in a statement. "One of our strategic objectives is to offer fully substitutable generic versions of key branded medicines, including respiratory medicines. This is a key area of focus that complements our global leadership position in biosimilars and complex injectables."
Oriel focuses on developing respiratory products with known pathways as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Sandoz said the acquisition would provide it with three promising development projects targeting leading medicines in this field, but the company declined to provide details of the Oriel development programs for competitive reasons.
In addition, Sandoz said, the acquisition of Oriel would bring access to its FreePath drug delivery technology, which the company noted has the potential to address some hurdles facing regulatory approval of generic inhaled medicines in the United States. Oriel has also developed the proprietary Solis disposable dry powder inhaler based on the FreePath delivery technology.
Sandoz reported that an estimated 50% of the current $32 billion global market for asthma and COPD medicines is slated to lose patent protection by the end of 2016. Key patents due to expire during that period in one or more major countries or regions include Advair/Seretide, Symbicort, Singulair and Spiriva, the company said.