Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim has revealed plans to buy a microtechnology specialist - STEAG microParts - to get full control of a novel inhaler for drug delivery into the lungs.
The Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler was co-developed by STEAG together with Boehringer Ingelheim. It generates a slow-moving long-lasting soft mist that is very efficient in penetrating and delivering drugs deep into the lungs. The device generates the mist through purely mechanical means, rather than through the use of environmentally harmful propellants or other chemicals.
Boehringer Ingelheim has big plans for the inhaler, and is hoping to develop it for use with a broad range of respiratory drugs. The hope is that improved delivery and penetration of active compounds into the lungs will lead to improvements in the efficacy of treatment for diseases such as asthma and chronic-obstructive airways disease (COPD), as well as potentially improving safety by delivering more precise doses.
"Respimat Soft Mist Inhaler was launched very successfully in Germany this year in combination with Berodual [fenoterol/ipratropium bromide] for the treatment of airways diseases," said Ulrich Pitkamin, president of Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma.
Boehringer Ingelheim is buying the company from STEAG, its parent. The microparts division employs a staff of over 300 at a site in Dortmund, Germany.
The division will be renamed Boehringer Ingelheim microParts and will be incorporated into the parent group as a legally independent company.