Meda has acquired the rights to two late-stage drugs from fellow Swedish firm Orexo, a sleep disorder treatment and an allergy compound.

The drugs in question are Sublinox, which zolpidem, the most common ingredient used for insomnia. However, this drug uses “a unique and patented sublingual tablet formulation for fast and effective absorption”, Meda says, and a recent Phase III study confirmed that Sublinox gave faster onset of action than other zolpidem formulations. A regulatory submission to the US Food and Drug Administration is expected before the third quarter this year.

The second compound, OX-NLA, is a patented nasal spray formulation with the antihistamine cetirizine. The product is entering Phase III and Meda will fund continued development of the allergy drug. The latter firm also has exclusive rights to develop and commercialise combination products based on OX-NLA.

In order to get the exclusive worldwide commercialisation rights for Sublinox and OX-NLA, Meda has paid $20 million and will pay millions more depending on yearly sales levels. Torbjorn Bjerke, chief executive of Orexo, which will receive double-digit royalties on sales, said “this is a landmark event” for the firm. He added that Meda is going to be “an excellent marketing partner” for Sublinox and OX-NLA with their pan-European and US presence”.

His counterpart at Meda, Anders Lonner, said that “I’m really glad that two Swedish-based pharma companies managed to secure this deal”.