AstraZeneca advances its plan for climate-friendly inhalers

It may be one of the most surprising sources of greenhouse gas emissions, but pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca believes it has successfully tackled the climate damage caused by respiratory inhalers.

The company has announced that it will partner with engineering giant Honeywell to develop next-generation respiratory inhalers using the HFO-1234ze propellant, which has up to 99.9% global warming potential (GWP) less than the propellants used in respiratory drugs.

Most patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) use inhaled medications commonly delivered by pressurized metered-dose inhalers (pMDIs) that contain small amounts of a type of greenhouse gas that acts as a propellant to deliver the drug to the lungs.

However, AstraZeneca said recent results from the first-in-human phase I trial of HFO-1234ze in a pMDI containing budesonide, glycopyrronium and formoterol fumarate in healthy adults were positive, demonstrating “a safe , similar tolerability and systemic exposure to the active ingredients” when compared to its standard drug Breztri Aerosphere.

Our goal is to reduce carbon emissions from respiratory care without restricting patient choice or risking improved health outcomes.

AstraZeneca said it expects Breztri to be its first drug to switch to the new near-zero climate impact propellant, subject to regulatory approval.

“The work we are doing with AstraZeneca to develop a respiratory inhaler, with a new near-zero global warming potential propellant, is extremely important both for the environment and for patients with respiratory problems,” said Darius. Adamczyk, chairman and CEO of Honeywell. “Our goal is to reduce carbon emissions from respiratory healthcare without restricting patient choice or risking improved health outcomes.”

The news came the same day AstraZeneca released its annual report Sustainability reportwhich confirmed that the company derives all of its imported electricity from renewable sources and has achieved a 59% reduction in its direct Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions since 2015.

The report also highlighted how AstraZeneca became one of the first seven companies in the world to have its net zero targets verified by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) in accordance with their Corporate Net Zero Standard. As such, it has set itself the goal of ensuring that 95% of its major suppliers and partners have their own science-based emissions targets in place by the end of 2025.

“We are making great strides in our ambition to be carbon zero in our global operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative across our entire value chain by 2030,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO from AstraZeneca. “Our collaboration with Honeywell demonstrates AstraZeneca’s commitment to advancing sustainable innovation in healthcare, with the goal of improving patient outcomes while reducing our environmental footprint.