Tobacco Giant Wants To Buy Company That Treats Asthma

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Harry Wilmerding Contributor
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Tobacco giant Philip Morris International entered a bidding war with the U.S. private equity firm Carlyle to buy an asthma therapy company that focuses on treating lung conditions.

Philip Morris International (PMI), the manufacturer of Marlboro cigarettes, increased its offer for the pharmaceutical company Vectura to 1.65 billion euros ($1.93 billion) on Sunday after Carlyle offered 958 million euros ($1.2 billion) on Friday, the BBC reported.

PMI announced on July 24 that it will stop selling Marlboro Cigarettes in the U.K. within the next 10 years, chief executive officer Jacek Olczak told The Daily Mail.

PMI said it would welcome a government ban on cigarettes and acknowledged the need for “strong regulation” to “help solve the problem of cigarette smoking once and for all,” according to the BBC.

Having already invested $8 billion into safe alternatives to smoking, a deal between PMI and Vectura could allow the tobacco giant to generate half of its revenue from smoke-free products in four years, according to CNN. PMI currently generates about one-quarter of its revenue through non-smoking products.

“Through Q2 of this year, smoke-free products accounted for nearly 30 percent of our net revenue and we have set a target for these products to account for 50 percent of net revenue in 2025,” PMI told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“PMI intends to operate Vectura as an autonomous business unit that will form the backbone of the PMI’s inhaled therapeutics business,” CNN reported Monday. Vectura has made 13 inhaled drugs to treat lung conditions, including asthma, and it is working on a COVID-19 treatment with another U.K. company.

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