UK group Circassia has announced plans to acquire US and Chinese commercialisation rights to AirNOvent, a novel nitric oxide product, from AIT Therapeutics.

AirNOvent is a portable system that offers potential benefits over existing competition, such as compatibility with current ventilators and a cylinder free, smaller, lighter and more convenient design, according to Circassia.

The rights cover all potential indications in the hospital setting for the administration of inhaled nitric oxide at up to 80 parts per million, which includes hypoxic respiratory failure associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension of a newborn (PPHN).

The company will pay an initial $7.4 million for the ventilator-compatible nitric oxide product rights, with further payments upon certain milestones for up to $25.3 million.

It also plans to launch and promote AirNOvent once approved, and add a modest number of personnel to its field force, including additional key accounts and medical affairs experts, to target top hospitals with neonatal intensive care units (NICUs).

“Acquiring the US and Chinese commercialisation rights to the innovative product AirNOvent represents an important milestone in Circassia’s strategic transformation into a commercially-focused respiratory pharmaceutical business," said chief executive Steve Harris.

"With our commercial platform established in the United States and our rapid expansion in China nearing completion, we look forward to leveraging our infrastructure to commercialise this novel product, once approved.

AirNOvent is a portable system that utilises an electric voltage to produce precise quantities of nitric oxide (NO) from the nitrogen and oxygen in air. It uses disposable smart filters to remove unwanted NO2 produced during the process.