Meda Snaps Up Sequoia-Backed Acton Pharmaceuticals for $135M+

Xconomy Boston — 

Venture backers of Acton Pharmaceuticals are breathing a little easier this morning.

Meda has agreed to acquire the Marlborough, MA-based developer of respiratory drugs in a deal worth at least $135 million. The Swedish drugmaker didn’t break down exactly how much it will pay in total, but the transaction includes $135 million up front, a $10 million payment tied to an unspecified milestone, and certain additional milestones based on royalties. Meda expects to close the deal during the fourth quarter.

The deal immediately gives Acton’s backers, led by VC firm Sequoia Capital, a return on the at least $21 million they’ve poured into Acton since it was founded by Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX) veterans John Simon and Daniel Kreisler, according to regulatory filings. Kreisler wouldn’t confirm or deny how much VC money Acton has raised when reached for comment on Friday.

Acton has two respiratory drugs nearing the market. It started up in 2009 with a $15 million Series A round led by Sequoia that helped it license an inhalable corticosteroid drug called flunisolide HFA (Aerospan) from Forest in 2010. The FDA approved the drug in September, but Acton hasn’t begun selling it as of yet. Meda says that it plans to begin doing so in 2014.

In 2011, Acton paid Sanofi $15 million to grab rights to triamcinolone acetonide (Nasacort HFA), a nasal spray for symptoms of seasonal allergenic rhinitis and perennial allergic rhinitis. The FDA hasn’t approved the drug as of yet. Acton has said it needs to fix certain “technical issues” regarding its manufacturing before it can get the green light from regulators. Meda didn’t mention the Sanofi drug in its announcement.