Sunovion Divesting U.S. Market Rights to Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Therapies to Covis Pharma

Irena Ilic, MD avatar

by Irena Ilic, MD |

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Sunovion Pharmaceuticals will divest its U.S. market rights for ciclesonide products for the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis to Covis Pharma. With this agreement, Sunovion confirms its focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and continued development of treatment options for this condition.

Sunovion’s ciclesonide products (a type of corticosteroids) included in the agreement are:

  • inhalation aerosol Alvesco, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the maintenance treatment of asthma, as preventive therapy, in patients 12 years and older. It belongs to the drug class of inhaled corticosteroids. It is not a rescue inhaler and it is not indicated for the treatment of acute episodes of asthma;
  • nasal spray Omnaris, approved by the FDA for the treatment of nasal symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis in patients 6 years and older, and for the treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis in patients 12 years and older;
  • nasal aerosol Zetonna, approved by the FDA for the treatment of symptoms of seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis in patients 12 years and older.

Corticosteroids are therapies that work by reducing inflammation, making breathing easier.

The newest Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) guidelines state that regular treatment with inhaled corticosteroids markedly reduces how often and how severe asthma symptoms occur. Corticosteroid treatment also reduces the risk of having a disease flare-up.

Additional national guidelines by the American Academy of Otolaryngology, also emphasize that the use of steroids improves symptoms’ control, quality of life and enables better sleep for patients with allergic rhinitis.

“We are excited to announce this transaction and look forward to engaging with patients, physicians and customers in the continued support of these important products as we build our respiratory franchise,” Michael Porter, CEO of Covis Pharma, said in a press release.

Covis Pharma and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals said they will work closely to ensure uninterrupted access to these products by patients.

“With the divestiture of asthma and allergy products, Sunovion is reinforcing its strategic focus on COPD in the respiratory area,” said Nobuhiko Tamura, chairman and CEO at Sunovion. “We are committed to working closely with Covis Pharma to ensure a smooth transition of the divested products.”

Sunovion has the broadest COPD portfolio in the U.S., having exclusive market rights for three FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of this condition: Utibron Neohaler (indacaterol and glycopyrrolate), Seebri Neohaler (glycopyrrolate), and Arcapta Neohaler (indacaterol). These drugs are used in the long-term maintenance therapy of airflow obstruction in COPD and can improve lung function in patients.