Mundipharma has signed a deal with Vectura to develop and commercialise VR2076, a novel inhaled triple therapy in development for the treatment of asthma and COPD.

Both the group and a US independent associated company have now exercised an option to license and assume full global responsibility from Vectura to develop and commercialise the experimental inhaled corticosteroid (ICS)/long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA)/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) inhaler.

Concurrent treatment with an ICS, a LABA and a LAMA is already a mainstay treatment for COPD and asthma, but these therapies are not yet available in a single device, being administered separately via two or more inhalers.

The companies are hoping that the provision of all three therapies in a single inhaler will offer "more convenient dosing, improve compliance and reduce the risk of exacerbations", according to the press release, which also noted that once a fixed-dose triple combination class is available its market will swell to $3-$5 billion by 2025.

The hand-over of rights to VR2076 triggers a payment to Vectura of 1.5 million euros, and the UK biotech could also bank further total milestone payments up to 46.5 million euros related to development, regulatory and launch progress of the program me as well as royalties on any future net sales.

Initially the development programme will focus on asthma, but should Mundipharma elect to develop the therapy for COPD as well, them Vectura becomes eligible for future potential milestones of up to 20 million euros plus royalties payable on any future sales.

"We're excited about the opportunity to realise the potential of VR2076 which will form a key part of our growing respiratory pipeline," said Mundipharma's managing director Antony Mattessich, commenting on the deal.