UK drug delivery company Vectura has signed a second licensing deal for its new GyroHaler device in as many weeks, providing an important endorsement for the technology.

The latest to company to be enticed by the GyroHaler is Boehringer Ingelheim, which will collaborate with Vectura to develop the dry powder inhaler on a non-exclusive basis as a branded device, delivering a range of Boehringer’s asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) products.

Boehringer reported sales of 9.4 billion euros ($11.3bn) in 2005, a 17% rise over 2004, and has a fast-growing COPD product with Spiriva (tiotropium), a long-acting muscarinic antagonist that is marketed in the US by Pfizer. 2005 sales of that product came in at 950 million euros.

Under the terms of the deal, Vectura stands to receive 5 million euros upfront and a 10 million-euro equity investment from its German partner, as well as milestones and fee-for-service payments out to the end of the collaboration, which is scheduled to complete in late 2007.

Analyst Sam Fazeli of Piper Jaffray said he estimated the cash portion of the deal to be somewhere in the region of $150 million, based on five products being developed using the inhaler technology. He also believes Spiriva will be one of the products that will be developed in the alliance.

Dry powder inhalers are increasingly the first choice for patients with asthma and COPD, and it is expected that DPIs will be used to deliver the majority of the drugs sold in these markets by 2010, said Vectura in a statement.

The GyroHaler is claimed to provide a number of advantages over competing devices, including better convenience for patients, more consistent, precise dosing and improved moisture protection

Earlier this month, Vectura licensed a combination asthma therapy, delivered using the GyroHaler, to an unnamed European drugmaker in return for 22.5 million euros in upfront, milestone and development funding.