London, August 19: Marlboro cigarettes maker Philip Morris International on Wednesday said that it bought a stake in the United Kingdom-based respiratory drug developer Vectura, reported CNBC. The tobacco group confirmed that it purchased 22.61 percent shares of the British asthma inhaler firm. The group is now reportedly planning to further market purchases of Vectura at 165 pence per share. Tobacco CEO Sees End to Cigarettes in Britain in 10 Years.
“PMI’s acquisition of Vectura is part of our long-term strategy to transform PMI by investing in scientific excellence and leveraging its capabilities and expertise,” PMI CEO Jacek Olczak said in a statement. He further added that the investment would accelerate the development and delivery of inhaled therapeutics to address many of today’s unmet medical needs.
On Monday, Philip Morris International said that the tobacco group had entered into a tender with Vectura shareholders after the asthma inhaler firm’s board unanimously agreed to the contract. According to the media report, PMI offered superior cash price to Vectura shareholders, and according to the inhaler firm’s board, the decision was made on the basis of the commitment by PMI to commitment to enhanced research and development. Philip Morris to Move Headquarters from NY to Connecticut.
However, several health charities and public health experts had time and again urged Vecture to reject the PMI’s offer to take a stake in the inhaler firm. Earlier this month, around 35 health charities and medical experts had also signed an open letter in this regard. Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation were among the signatories of the letter.
Meanwhile, the tobacco firm had repeatedly asserted its “smoke-free” ambitions. In July this year, the PMI’s CEO had said that the company would stop selling cigarettes in the UK in the next 10 years. Notably, PMI’s most of the revenue still comes from selling cigarettes.