November 16, 2017 / 8:09 AM / a month ago

Europe approves GlaxoSmithKline's new triple lung drug

LONDON (Reuters) - Europe has approved GlaxoSmithKline’s new three-in-one inhaler for chronic lung disease, which the group hopes will help it keep its lead in respiratory medicine despite falling sales of older drug Advair.

Trelegy Ellipta is the first once-daily triple medicine for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), putting GSK ahead of rivals such as AstraZeneca and Novartis.

The decision by the European Commission to grant it marketing authorization, announced by the company on Thursday, had been expected following a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency in September.

The first European launch is expected to take place before the end of the year.

The new inhaler, which GSK developed with Innoviva, was also approved in the United States in September.

GSK estimates about a quarter of COPD patients are already using three drugs to control their disease, suggesting plentiful demand for more intensive treatment.

Such patients will now get all three medicines in one easy-to-use inhaler, although how exactly that will translate into overall sales is less easy to calculate as GSK will inevitably cannibalize sales of some of its other drugs.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Mark Potter

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