AstraZeneca, Honeywell partner to address climate change with new inhaler tech


UK-based global pharma company AstraZeneca and US consumer products company Honeywell have announced a partnership to build a new "next generation" inhaler with a propellant that reduces Global Warming Potential by more than 99%. 

The deal is part of a broader sustainability initiative by AstraZeneca that also includes an ambitious plan to reduce emissions and move toward sustainable power sources.

The propellants used in metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) have always contributed significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Although the 1990s saw a switch from MDIs using ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons to new ones using much safer hydroflourocarbons, MDIs still contribute greenhouse gas emissions that can contribute to global warming. And while other options exist like dry-powder inhalers and soft mist inhalers, MDIs are still the best option for many patients for a variety of reasons, according to AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca and Honeywell are developing MDIs that will use a new propellant called HFO-1234ze, which, according to the company, has 99.9% less Global Warming Potential (GWP) than existing propellants. GWP is an EPA-developed measure of how much energy the emissions of one ton of a gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of one ton of carbon dioxide.

Starting with the Brestri Aerosphere COPD inhaler (pending regulatory approval), AstraZeneca intends to transition all of its MDIs to this technology by 2030.

“The work we are doing with AstraZeneca developing a respiratory inhaler, with a new near-zero Global Warming Potential propellant, is tremendously important for both the environment and patients with respiratory issues," Darius Adamczyk, chairman and CEO of Honeywell, said in a statement. "Our goal is to reduce respiratory healthcare carbon emissions without restricting patient choice or risking improvement in health outcomes.”

AstraZeneca also released its company-wide sustainability report this week, which includes progress updates on the company's many sustainability initiatives. Of note, AstraZeneca has reduced Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 59% since 2015 and has a goal of 98% reduction by 2026. Additionally, 88% of the company's electricity came from sustainable sources in 2021, putting the company on track to hit 100% in 2025.

"We are making great progress on our ambition to be zero carbon across our global operations by the end of 2025 and carbon negative across our entire value chain by 2030," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement. "Our collaboration with Honeywell demonstrates AstraZeneca’s commitment to advancing sustainable healthcare innovation, with the aim of improving outcomes for patients while reducing our environmental footprint.”