Sino Biopharmaceutical (Sino Biopharm) has agreed to acquire a 60% stake in Belgium-based respiratory company Softhale from New Rhein Healthcare Investors for an upfront payment of $110m.

The transaction amount, which also includes a profit share, is expected to exceed $200m, subject to Softhale’s business development.

Softhale has developed a new generation of Soft Mist Inhalation (SMI) devices for the improvement of respiratory treatments. It delivers drugs through the SMI device designed to offer medication to the lungs.

The company’s products are said to significantly improve the treatment paradigm for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD).

The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that 235 million people suffer from asthma, and four million die prematurely from chronic respiratory disease per annum.

Softhale CEO Dr Jan-Torsten Tews said: “New Rhein has played a fundamental role in transforming Softhale from its medical technology driven origins into a highly specialized developer of respiratory medicines and in accelerating the development of our pipeline with operational expertise, resources and a global network.

“At this crucial point of our development, Sino Biopharm is a great partner on our mission to further advance and broaden the development of our platform and to build and launch a new generation of highly effective inhalable medicines on a global scale.”

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of this month. Guggenheim Securities served as financial advisor to Softhale.

The sale of Softhale marks the first exit from New Rhein’s latest fund, which was launched in 2018.

New Rhein is said to apply a private equity business model to life sciences venture capital investing.