March 7, 2011 / 7:43 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 2-Astra pulls asthma product, hitting SkyePharma

* 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 (Reuters) - 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 revenues.

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 Pulmicort.

    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)

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