PMI to Buy Respiratory Drug Developer OtiTopic

    Photo: ASDF

    Philip Morris International announced the acquisition of OtiTopic, a U.S. respiratory drug development company with a late-stage inhalable acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) treatment for acute myocardial infarction.

    “The acquisition of OtiTopic is an exciting step in PMI’s ‘Beyond Nicotine’ ambitions,” said Jacek Olczak, CEO of PMI, in a statement. “We have world-class expertise in the research, development and commercialization of aerosolization and inhalable devices to help speed the delivery of this exciting product to market.”

    This acquisition is part of PMI’s plan to leverage its expertise, scientific know-how and capabilities in inhalation to grow a pipeline of inhaled therapeutics and respiratory drug delivery beyond nicotine products. Following the completion of clinical trials and pending approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, PMI can leverage its expertise and the capabilities of other companies in the “Beyond Nicotine” portfolio to bring Asprihale to market.

    Asprihale is a patented, dry powder inhalation of ASA delivered through a unique self-administered aerosol—it is expected to move from clinical trials to filing with the FDA for approval in 2022. Early clinical trials have shown that the product system catalyzed peak plasma concentration and the desired pharmacodynamic effect, i.e., inhibition of platelet aggregation in two minutes compared with 20 minutes for coated chewable aspirin, according to PMI. This speed is unprecedented and has significant potential implications for improving the survival of patients at risk of heart attacks.

    With its acquisition of OtiTopic, PMI looks forward to completing the planned Asprihale registration program and bringing this important treatment to market to address a significant unmet medical need in a clinical condition where every second counts.

    Jorge Insuasty, chief life sciences officer, PMI

    OtiTopic will complete its assessment program and filing with the FDA using the FDA’s 505 (b)(2) pathway, a pathway designed for drugs already available on the market but requesting approval either for a new indication, dosage form or regimen, strength, combination with other products, or other unique traits. This pathway will allow PMI to build on existing data available for ASA reference products and focus on delivering the evidence that the inhalable form, Asprihale, outperforms the current standard of care—oral delivery—of ASA.

    “In the United States alone, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds. With its inhalable version of acetylsalicylic acid, OtiTopic has developed an asset that promises to have a much faster onset of effect compared to oral ASA,” said Jorge Insuasty, chief life sciences officer for PMI. “With its acquisition of OtiTopic, PMI looks forward to completing the planned Asprihale registration program and bringing this important treatment to market to address a significant unmet medical need in a clinical condition where every second counts.”

    “This transaction aligns well with OtiTopic’s goals of unlocking what we believe to be a significant opportunity in inhaled therapeutics science,” said Kambiz Yadidi, CEO of OtiTopic. “We are entering this transaction to accelerate Asprihale’s FDA filing with the goal of delivering innovative therapies for people with intermediate to high risk for myocardial infarction.”

    OtiTopic was founded in 2012 as an innovative pharmaceutical startup company and holds several key patents, differentiated intellectual property, and has confirmed a 505(b)2 pathway through constructive interactions with the FDA.

    The acquisition follows other nontobacco acquisitions by PMI. Earlier, the company purchased British drug maker Vectura and Fertin Pharma, a manufacturer of nicotine chewing gum.