Aptar's active deal team strikes again, bagging option on high payload dry powder inhaler

The flurry of business development activity at Aptar continues. Having made moves for injectable drug delivery and digital therapeutic players in recent weeks, Aptar has now nabbed (PDF) an option on a high payload dry powder inhaler.

Aptar’s agreement covers a Pharmaxis technology designed to deliver powder payloads of 400 mg or more for inhalation in divided doses without the need to reload. Pharmaxis developed the inhaler to extend the life cycle of its cystic fibrosis drug Bronchitol, but Aptar sees scope to use the technology to deliver other active ingredients. 

The agreement gives Aptar the chance to evaluate the commercial applications of the device before paying out for a worldwide license. Aptar has paid $250,000 for a 12-month option to buy worldwide rights to the technology and will hand over a further $2.5 million if it exercises the option. Pharmaxis is also set to receive royalties if Aptar unlocks the commercial potential of the technology.

“In their hands, we hope to fully exploit the potential of the Orbital technology in other drugs and secure a return on the work we have already completed,” Pharmaxis CEO Gary Phillips said in a statement. 

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Pharmaxis has taken the technology into phase 1, where, according to the company, “it performed well.” The deal with Aptar will allow Pharmaxis to retain the rights to the device in the delivery of mannitol, the active ingredient in Bronchitol, but further work on the cystic fibrosis project is subject to commercial funding from distribution partners. 

The device is designed to eliminate the need for “manual reloading of multiple powder‐containing capsules needed for a single dose of drug,” Phillips said, and thereby “deliver improvements in the patient experience, compliance, market share and also effectively extend patent life of drugs that use the device.”

Pharmaxis identified antibiotics as a class of medicines that need to be delivered to the lungs in the sort of high doses enabled by its Orbital inhaler.