RESPIRATORY HEALTH

BAT quits nicotine inhaler to focus on vaping

 (REUTERS/Christian Hartmann)

British American Tobacco (BAT) (BATS.L) has quit plans to market a nicotine inhaler it was working on to focus on consumer items like e-cigarettes rather than health products.

The decision comes after manufacturing issues delayed the commercial launch of the inhaler, called Voke, which BAT worked on with Kind Consumer, its original developer. Voke has been approved by Britain's drug regulator as the first e-cigarette-like product of its kind to be medically prescribed for people trying to quit smoking.

BAT, the world's second-biggest international tobacco company, said on Thursday that it would transfer manufacturing, intellectual property and know-how assets to Kind Consumer, from which it licensed the product, in return for deferred, contingent payments. Financial details were not disclosed.

Kind said in the statement that it would seek a new global partner, or possibly several regional partners, to accelerate distribution of the nicotine inhaler this year.

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Consort Medical (CSRT.L), which was to supply the inhaler, said on Tuesday that BAT had ended its supply agreement after the product failed to launch in 2016, but said it remained in discussions with BAT and Kind about the future of the product.

BAT, which is in talks on a $47 billion takeover of U.S. peer Reynolds American (RAI.N), said its strategy on next-generation products would focus on its Vype e-cigarette and its glo tobacco-heating product.

Voke uses liquid nicotine like e-cigarettes, but does not use a battery to heat it into a vapor the way e-cigarettes do.