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Sandoz signs agreement with Oriel Therapeutics


Sandoz has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oriel Therapeutics, a privately held US pharmaceuticals company.

This means gaining exclusive rights to a portfolio of generic drug candidates and related technologies targeting medicines in the inhalable respiratory drug market. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Oriel focuses on developing respiratory products with known pathways as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

The acquisition provides Sandoz with three promising development projects targeting leading medicines in this field.  

Regulatory approvals of these medicines, if achieved, would enable Sandoz to increase access to affordable, high-quality therapeutic alternatives for these increasingly prevalent diseases. Details of Oriel’s development programs, including anticipated timing of future regulatory submissions, are not disclosed for competitive reasons.

“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,” said Jeff George, Division Head Sandoz. “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.”

The acquisition of Oriel, which will be integrated as a separate development unit within Sandoz, also offers Sandoz access to its novel FreePath(TM) drug delivery technology. This has the potential to address some of the hurdles facing regulatory approval of generic inhaled medicines in the US. Oriel has also developed the proprietary Solis(TM) disposable dry powder inhaler based on the FreePath(TM) delivery technology.

According to industry estimates approximately 50% of the current USD 32 billion global market segment[1] for asthma and COPD medicines is expected to lose patent protection by the end of 2016.[2] Key patents due to expire over this period in one or more major countries or regions include Advair®/Seretide®[3], Symbicort®[4], Singulair®[5] and Spiriva®


The acquisition will enable Sandoz to leverage both its existing range of in-market products and its extensive in-house expertise. In 2009, Sandoz invested more than USD 60 million in a new 10 000 m2 facility at its global respiratory Center of Excellence in Rudolstadt, Germany, which has validated full-scale manufacturing capacities for both DPI and MDI inhalers. 


In 2009, Sandoz broadened its existing respiratory portfolio by launching generic salbutamol in several European countries, as the first EU-wide approved generic inhalable product under new EU regulatory guidelines. In addition to its in-house expertise, Sandoz has collaborations with other companies as well as with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Division, which maximize its access to quality generic inhalable device mechanisms. Novartis Pharmaceuticals has a complementary portfolio of high-quality patent-protected respiratory medicines as well as an extensive development pipeline. 


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