Novartis, Schering-Plough to develop new inhaler option

Schering-Plough and Novartis will develop a once-daily inhaled combination therapy for asthma and COPD, the firms said. The inhaler would combine mometasone, the active ingredient of Schering-Plough’s Asmanex for asthma, with Novartis’ indacaterol, an experimental COPD compound also known as QAB149. The parties said they will share development costs, with no initial payments by either side, and will co-promote the combination therapy worldwide. They hope the new product will offer better compliance through once-daily dosing. This is the latest iteration of a long-term collaboration between Novartis and Schering-Plough. Another combination asthma-COPD product they are co-developing, based on Asmanex and Novartis’ Foradil (formoterol fumarate), is entering Phase III trials.