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Nycomed Submits “Smoker’s Lung” Drug for EU Approval

LONDON (Reuters) – Nycomed has submitted Daxas, its “smoker’s lung” drug, for regulatory approval in Europe and is preparing for a submission in the United States, the unlisted Swiss drugmaker said on Friday.

“Our search for a U.S. partner is on track, and we will submit a regulatory filing to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) soon,” Chief Executive Hakan Bjorklund said in a statement.

Reuters reported earlier this week that the Zurich-based group expected to sign a U.S. marketing agreement for Daxas in the first half of 2009 and ultimately aimed for a stock market listing. [ID:nL5948524]

If the listing comes off, it could be one of the pharmaceutical sector’s biggest initial public offerings (IPOs) in years.

Nycomed is majority owned by four private equity firms, led by Nordic Capital with a 41 percent stake. The other three are Credit Suisse’s DLJ Merchant Banking, Coller International Partners and Avista.

Analysts believe Daxas, which targets patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), could become a major seller.

If approved, Nycomed’s oral drug would compete with GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK.L) Advair and Spiriva, marketed by Pfizer (PFE.N) and Boehringer Ingelheim, although it works in a different way by targeting an enzyme called phosphodiesterase 4 involved in inflammation.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)