UK-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals’ wholly owned affiliate West-Ward Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement with Vectura for the development of generic salmeterol product (VR730) for the US market. 

The long acting beta-agonists (LABA) generic salmeterol is used for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

It is delivered using Vectura’s new dry powder inhalation technology and device. 

According to IMS Health, sales of inhaled DPI and pMDI LABAs in the US totalled approximately $150m last year.

Under the agreement, Hikma will be responsible for the clinical development, manufacture and commercialisation of the product, while Vectura will complete the formulation development of the product, which will be funded by Hikma. 

"This builds on the strong relationship we have established through our programme for the development of generic Advair Diskus."

Vectura will initially receive $375,000 and potential further development, filing, approval and launch milestones up to an aggregate amount of $1.12m. 

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The company will also receive a share of future returns on the product, once Hikma recovers the costs of the clinical endpoint pivotal trial.

West-Ward Pharmaceuticals CEO Mike Raya said: “We are very pleased to be extending our partnership with Vectura. 

“This builds on the strong relationship we have established through our programme for the development of generic Advair Diskus. 

“By leveraging Hikma’s strong R&D, high-quality manufacturing and excellent commercial capabilities, we are successfully executing our pipeline development strategy for our US generics business and improving patient access to high-quality, affordable medicines.”