Philip Morris International Inc.
has agreed to buy Vectura Group PLC, a UK pharmaceutical company specializing in inhaled drugs, for $ 1.24 billion in cash, further strengthening its drive to grow beyond tobacco and nicotine.
Philip Morris International, which is listed in New York but sells the Marlboro brand outside the United States, said on Friday that Vectura would be the backbone of a business built around inhalation therapy. Inhalers used by asthmatics, for example, are common for the treatment of respiratory diseases, but have shown promise for the administration of other drugs.
The deal trumps a previous deal Vectura struck in May to be acquired by Carlyle Group Inc. Philip Morris’ £ 899.2million offer values Vectura at 150p per share, 10% more than the offer of the private equity firm. Carlyle said on Friday he was considering his options.
Vectura shares were trading up 13% in London.
Philip Morris said the acquisition is part of his move into a larger healthcare and wellness company. Earlier this year, it announced plans to generate more than half of its revenue from smokeless products by 2025, up from 24% in 2020.
Philip Morris said the administration of respiratory medications and so-called self-care wellness products are essential in his plans to move away from tobacco and nicotine. He said Vectura can help him tap into the rapidly growing market for inhalation therapeutics.
Vectura, based in Chippenham, England, will operate as a stand-alone business unit within Philip Morris with the support of its current strategy, the companies said. In 2019, the company changed its strategy to focus on providing contract drug development services for its partners.
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Appeared in the print edition of July 10, 2021 under the title “Philip Morris Bids for Drug Firm”.