Mylan snags Pfizer's Advair copy, inhaler technology

Look out, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK). Mylan ($MYL) has snapped up some drug delivery technology from Pfizer ($PFE), aiming to knock off GSK's blockbuster respiratory drugs Advair Diskus and Seretide Diskus. The drugs, which are used to treat asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, are big sellers for the U.K. drugmaker.

GSK hasn't been too worried about generic copies of Advair thus far, as the drug is already off patent in Europe. And that's largely because of the delivery device. A Greek company won approval for its version of the drug, but its delivery technology is different enough to prevent automatic generic substitution, GSK believes. A more threatening version, planned by the Novartis ($NVS) generics unit Sandoz, appears to have hit a snag, if a Finnish listing of approval filings is any indication.

The Pfizer-Mylan deal would give the latter the rights to develop and sell Pfizer's generic version of Advair, which uses a proprietary dry-powder inhaler, just as GSK's Advair Diskus does. Mylan will pay $17.5 million up front, plus milestone payments. Mylan can also use the delivery technology to develop some branded specialty products, the company said. Some Pfizer employees associated with the inhalation technology will join Mylan as well.

"We are extremely pleased to enter into this agreement with Pfizer, as we believe that inhaler-based products represent a significant opportunity for our generics business and expand our focus on difficult-to-produce, limited competition products," Mylan President Heather Bresch said in a statement. "We are particularly excited about the global potential of a generic Advair."

- get Mylan's release
- read the Reuters news

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