A group of ex-UK pharmaceutical company bosses this week launched Archimedes Pharma – a new European speciality pharmaceutical company, which plans to build a European-focused, integrated company with its own sales and marketing operations in the major markets and a robust pipeline of late-stage and development projects.

Richard de Souza, Archimedes’ chief executive, said: “Our strategy is to grow our commercial presence through the acquisition of pharmaceutical companies or brands in Europe and through partnering with companies looking for a marketing presence in Europe. In parallel, we will develop our own pipeline of innovative near term products to support our commercial organisation.”

To drive the company in the medium term, Archimedes, whose lead investor is Warburg Pincus, has completed its first acquisition – the nasal drug delivery assets of West Pharmaceutical Services. Through this acquisition, Archimedes says it gains a development organisation with proprietary technologies for nasal drug delivery and a number of development products, the first of which could be launched in 2008. Under the agreement, West has transferred substantially all of its technology related drug delivery assets to Archimedes and will receive $7.1 million dollars in cash and approximately 14% of the stock of the company. In addition, Warburg Pincus has invested $40 million in Archimedes to fund the development of products based on this proprietary nasal drug delivery technology.