Novartis acquires generic respiratory drug maker Oriel Therapeutics

Swiss drugmaker Novartis today acquired privately held US-based specialty pharmaceutical company Oriel Therapeutics for an undisclosed sum to boost its generics drugs portfolio in the $32-billion global respiratory drugs market.

Basel-based Novartis said that its Holzkirchen, Germany subsidiary Sandoz will acquire Oriel Therapeutics, gaining exclusive rights to a portfolio of generic drug and related technologies targeting medicines in the inhalable respiratory drug market.

Although Novartis did not disclose how much it paid to buy Oriel, it did say that Oriel's owners are eligible for additional payments, which are contingent upon the achievement of various milestones related to the technical development of some drugs as well as regulatory approvals and market launches. Oriel's owners would also be eligible for sales royalties

According to industry estimates approximately 50 per cent of the current $32-billion global market for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) medicines is expected to lose patent protection by the end of 2016.

The asthma and COPD market segment is projected to grow significantly faster than the pharmaceutical market, driven by factors including a significant level of under-diagnosis.

Oriel Therapeutics, based in Durham, North Carolina, focuses on developing respiratory products with known pathways as generic alternatives to patented drugs for asthma and COPD.