Nicotine giant invests in the pharmaceutical market


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US-based Philip Morris International Inc has announced the acquisition of inhalation drug development company OtiTopic. This is another pharmaceutical company that the nicotine giant has recently purchased in pursuit of its plan to create a smoke-free future.

By acquiring OtiTopic, Philip Morris International Inc. will be able to leverage its experience, scientific expertise, and inhalation capabilities to develop a line of therapeutic inhaled drugs, as well as other inhaled drugs such as Beyond Nicotine. OtiTopic is currently developing an inhaled drug based on acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction. Once clinical trials are completed and approval is granted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the drug could reach the market and significantly improve the treatment of people at average or high risk of heart attack, of whom there are more than 83m in the US alone. According to the study, inhaled aspirin reduces the time required to deliver the drug to the body from 20 to 2 minutes, speeding up its duration of action by 10 times compared to orally administered aspirin. This speed of uptake of the drug by the body could increase the chances of survival for people at risk of a heart attack.

PMI has been investing in the pharmaceutical market for a long time, acquiring companies that could be used to expand its offerings of smoke-free products, such as heat-not-burn and vapor products containing nicotine. PMI, which is best known for creating brands such as Marlboro and L&M is trying to convince its customers to switch to smoke-free products, for instance with its IQOS cigarette warming devices.

In addition, in July PMI acquired the Danish company Fertin Pharma, which manufactures oral and sublingual medicines for use in nicotine replacement therapy, for around $820m. Another high-profile acquisition was the purchase of UK-based Vectura Group, which manufactures technologies for inhaled drugs as well as asthma medication. This investment cost PMI $1.2bn.

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