Philip Morris to buy inhalation CDMO

July 9, 2021

Cigarette maker Philip Morris International (PMI) agreed to buy CDMO Vectura for $1.45 billion (£1.045 billion), with the goal of gaining access to the UK drugmaker's expertise in bringing respiratory ailment treatments and inhalation device technology to market.

The Chippenham, UK-based CDMO has partnered with drugmakers such as Sandoz, Bayer, and GSK to bring 13 inhaled medicines and associated devices to market.

Philip Morris wants to acquire Vectura as part of its new "Beyond Nicotine" strategy, as the cigarette giant looks to evolve into a broader healthcare and wellness company. By 2025, PMI aims to generate at least $1 billion in net revenues from products beyond tobacco and nicotine.

PMI — which was spun off by parent company Altria Group in 2007, in order to clear the international tobacco business from the legal and regulatory constraints facing its domestic counterpart, Philip Morris USA — says it plans for Vectura to operate as an independent unit at the center of its inhaled therapeutics business.

According to PMI, "there are attractive opportunities to develop and launch proprietary inhaled therapeutic products together, and to expand the geographic reach of Vectura’s business."

The move from the tobacco company trumps an earlier bid for Vectura by Carlyle Group, which had been recommended by the board of the U.K. company in May.

The new deal will require the approval of shareholders, among other conditions.