The government has announced a £33m joint investment with a company that develops greener inhalers.
Announcing the investment on 3 August 2023, the government said the money would be delivered through its Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund, and will see Kindeva Drug Delivery continue to develop low-carbon metered dose inhalers (MDIs) for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which the company says will be manufactured using new propellants that have “upwards of 90% lower global warming potential (GWP) than P134a, the greenest propellant used in the industry currently”.
The company, which has UK research and design, and manufacturing, sites in Loughborough, Leicestershire, and Clitheroe, Lancashire, as well as sites in the United States, says it is hoping to bring two new MDI products that use the low-carbon propellants to market by 2025, subject to regulatory approval.
The NHS’s net zero strategy, published in October 2020, identified inhaler gas as a significant contributor to the NHS’s carbon footprint, accounting for around 3% of its emissions.
Anna Murphy, consultant respiratory pharmacist at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, who was lead author of a study of a recycling scheme for asthma inhalers, said: “This is good news for UK medicines manufacturing and will ensure a new generation of green, low-carbon respiratory inhalers are made here in the UK.
“In the future, having a lower GWP propellant in MDIs is important for us in healthcare to address the impact on climate change, but it also maintains an option of a MDI and spacer to deliver medicines for our respiratory patients.
“However, we must not in the meantime become complacent,” she added.
“It is essential that we continue to reduce the impact of MDIs containing HFA 137 and 227 propellants, which have high GWP. Dry-powder inhalers should be considered as an option for our patients, in particular adults and adolescents over 12 years. Checking and optimising inhaler technique is fundamental to improving and maintaining disease control and the choice of device should be individualised to your patient, whilst considering the greener option.”
David Stevens, global chief commercial officer at Kindeva Drug Delivery, said: “This joint investment creates a myriad of new opportunities for colleagues within the UK, as significant technical and regulatory expertise is required in the development and manufacturing of complex inhalation pharmaceutical products.
“Furthermore, it provides Kindeva with a springboard to expand our capabilities and capacity, while simultaneously partnering with the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world to bring the next generation of green inhalers to market.”