Meda of Sweden has hit the acquisition trail and unveiled plans to buy Acton Pharmaceuticals in a deal that could be worth up to $200 million to the US respiratory specialist.

Meda is forking out $135 million and will make an additional development payment of $10 million, plus sales-based milestones. The acquisition is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

The deal will give Meda access to Aerospan (flunisolide), which was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of asthma. Aerospan is a HFA (hydrofluoroalkane)-propelled inhaled corticosteroid and is the only approved inhaler in its class to incorporate a built-in 'spacer' device.

Meda says that the use of these spacers is increasing very rapidly, noting that in some markets, more than one-third of patients who use inhaled corticosteroids also use a spacer. The Swedish firm says the value of the US single-entity ICS market is approaching $2 billion with more than 12 million prescriptions written each year.

The company hopes to reach a minimum of 2 billion kroner (about $302 million) in sales within five years, noting that the launch of Aerospan is planned for the beginning of 2014. Meda chief executive Anders Lonner said the acquisition of Acton "is a unique opportunity to gain access to a newly registered product in the US market".

He added that Aerospan is within Meda’s primary focus area and paired with its hay fever treatment Dymista (azelastine and fluticasone), "this gives us a clear profile in our highest priority area as well as important marketing synergies".