SkyePharma said yesterday that AstraZeneca had filed for European approval of a new version of the asthma treatment, Pumicort (budesonide), triggering a milestone payment to the UK biotechnology firm.

The new pressurised metered-dose aerosol inhaler formulation of Pulmicort will be available in two strengths for the treatment of asthma in both adults and children. SkyePharma notes that the currently available pMDI formulation has been on the market since 1981 and uses chlorofluorocarbons as the propellant, which will now be replaced by a non-ozone depleting device using hydrofluoroalkanes as propellant.

SkyePharma, which developed the new HFA pMDI device, will also earn a royalty on AstraZeneca’s sales of this formulation of Pulmicort.