US approval of its asthma treatment delivers boost for Vectura

January 17, 2021

Directors at Chippenham-based specialist pharmaceutical firm Vectura expect its 2020 financial results to be better than they expected following approval of its latest asthma treatment in the US.

The firm will also benefit from millions of dollars in royalties and damages paid by pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) following a US court case over infringement while also escaping any impact from the coronavirus pandemic on its finances. 

In a pre-close trading update, Vectura, which develops inhalable dry-powder drugs that treat lung conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, said the approval by the US Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) of its generic version of Advair, developed in partnership with British multinational pharmaceutical company Hikma, would boost its revenues and earnings for 2020.

Vectura chief executive officer Will Downie, pictured, told shareholders: “I am pleased to report that the business has performed well during 2020, trading ahead of board expectations following FDA approval in December 2020 of our generic Advair programme. 

“The business has also proven resilient in the face of wider challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak. 

"We have continued to execute on our inhalation CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organisation) strategy, signing 18 deals during 2020, with revenue from this new business being recognised in the second half of the year.  

"This is an exciting time for the group and we look forward to continued positive momentum in 2021.”

Other highlights of last year were the signing of 18 new CDMO deals, which brought in £3m revenues in the second half of the year and the approval of its Enerzair Breezhaler in Japan and Europe, triggering milestone payments of $6.25m.

Following the ending of court proceedings in the US by GSK, it has told Vectura it will pay it around $164m by the end of this month to reflect damages, interest and royalties accrued up to the period ending of the third quarter last year. 

Additional royalties due for the last quarter of 2020 and for this year will bring in around $200m for Vectura.

Looking ahead, Vectura said it expects to see continued progression against its strategy with CDMO revenues in 2021 expected to more than triple versus 2020. 

Vectura, which was part formed from a spin-out from the University of Bath and is listed on the London Stock Exchange, has grown rapidly in recent years through development collaborations and licence agreements with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies such as Novartis, Sandoz and GSK.

In 2016 it merged with London-based Skyepharma, creating one of the UK’s leading specialist pharmaceutical firms with a combined turnover of £1bn.

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