* Ending Pulmicort pMDI production due to device problems
* Royalties from product equal 5 pct of SkyePharma revenue
* SkyePharma shares slump 16.7 pct, AstraZeneca off 0.4 pct
(Adds share moves)
LONDON, March 7 AstraZeneca (AZN.L) is ending
production of the pressurised metered dose inhaler version of
its asthma drug Pulmicort, due to technical problems, in a move
that will hit its technology partner SkyePharma SKP.L.
SkyePharma developed the formulation for the medicine and
earns a mid-teens percentage royalty on its sales. Royalties
from the product comprise about 5 percent of SkyePharma's
Shares in SkyePharma tumbled 16.7 percent in early trade on
Monday, while AstraZeneca slipped 0.4 percent
AstraZeneca said that "complex manufacturing issues related
to technical aspects of the device" had left it with no choice
but to discontinue production of the 100 and 200 microgram per
dose HFA pMDI (pressurised metered dose inhaler) forms of
The issue is not related to the product's active ingredient,
budesonide, an inhaled anti-inflammatory glucocorticosteroid.
Pulmicort pMDI is only sold in some countries and other
AstraZeneca products, including Pulmicort Turbuhaler, Pulmicort
Respules and Pulmicort Flexhaler are not affected because they
use different devices.
Other AstraZeneca pMDI products such as Symbicort and
Vannair are also not affected.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Sophie Walker)