Advair – a combination of fluticasone propionate and salmeterol xinafoate - has continued to be a top-selling product for GSK, despite losing its US patent in 2010 and European patent last year. In the past quarter, sales were £1.1bn ($1.8bn) but this represented a 12% y-o-y drop attributed to alternative products on the market.
CEO Andrew Witty said, during a recent conference call, sales of Advair would continue decline, but other respiratory products in the firm’s portfolio would generate new sales growth. In the past 18 months the inhalation drugs Breo, Anoro and – most recently – Incruse have received US approval and yesterday Arnuity (fluticasone furoate) was given the thumbs up for the treatment of asthma.
Arnuity is a once-daily inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) drug which acts to reduce inflammation in the lungs associated with asthma, GSK spokesperson Eleanor Bunch told in-Pharmatechnologist.com. It is the second ICS product approved in the US, joining Flovent (fluticasone propionate) a twice-daily medication.
It is delivered using the same technology as Breo, Anoro and Incruse, GSK’s Ellipta Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI), which Bunch told us works by delivering the API through a foil blister strip containing 30 doses contained within the inhaler.
AstraZeneca makes rival respiratory drug Symbicourt but has also shown interest in diversifying its asthma/COPD portfolio with the $875m acquisition of Almirall earlier this month. Bunch would not comment on any other drugmakers but did tell this publication there was space in the market for its own diversified offerings.
“With over 300 million people worldwide suffering with asthma, we believe that each of these medicines will have important roles to play in the future treatment of this disease,” she said.
“Treatment selection will be at the discretion of the treating clinician based on the needs of the patient.”