Alvesco now available for asthma sufferers in the United Kingdom

Altana AG has announced that Alvesco (Ciclesonide), a novel inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) for the treatment of adults (18+ years) suffering from persistent asthma is now available for the first time in the United Kingdom (UK).

Altana Pharma also received the national marketing license for Germany and will start to market Alvesco in Germany in February. Further launches will follow during the year in Europe and across the world.

More than 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, thereof approx. 10 million patients in the UK. IMS data indicate that the UK is the largest market in Europe for asthma medication. The market in mono-therapy inhaled corticosteroids (ICS Mono) represented a value of some EUR1 billion in 2003, of which the UK accounted for about 30 percent.

"We're delighted that we can now make Alvesco, a new respiratory drug from own research, available as an innovative therapy option to asthma patients," said Dr. Hans-Joachim Lohrisch, President and CEO of Altana Pharma. "The Alvesco market launch marks an important step forward for Altana Pharma on the way to becoming an innovative, international pharmaceuticals company with an even broader base."

The Ciclesonide product family, to which Alvesco belongs, has the potential to become another Altana Pharma blockbuster, thereby following in the footsteps of our successful proton pump inhibitor Pantoprazole (Pantozol/ Protonix). In addition to the newly launched inhaler Alvesco, for which cooperation partner sanofi-aventis has already filed an application in the U.S. and cooperation partner Teijin in Japan, the family also includes Ciclesonide nasal spray (phase III), Ciclesonide as a fixed combination product with formoterol (phase II) and Ciclesonide as a dry powder inhaler (phase II).

UK served as the Reference Member State for the Mutual Recognition Procedure of Alvesco in other European countries. Meanwhile 20 European countries have mutually agreed to the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) for Alvesco. According to the SmPC Alvesco is approved as treatment for persistent asthma of all severity grades in adults at once daily doses of 160 ?g or 80 ?g. In patients with severe asthma at risk of asthma attacks, who are not well controlled and require a stronger anti-inflammatory treatment, Alvesco could be used with higher doses as 160 ?g. Alvesco has already been approved in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Colombia.

Alvesco is an inhaled corticosteroid with novel release and distribution properties resulting in lung-targeted anti-inflammatory effects. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are considered to be the foundation of asthma treatment, work by reducing inflammation - the underlying disease process - in the lungs and airways.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease caused by airway inflammation and results in airway constriction in response to certain stimuli. It is characterized by a variety of symptoms including wheezing, coughing and a tightening of the airways, which causes shortness of breath and can be life-threatening. The prevalence of asthma is increasing by approximately 50 percent every decade and worldwide deaths from asthma total more than 180,000 annually.

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