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AstraZeneca progresses Ambition Zero Carbon programme with Honeywell partnership to develop next-generation respiratory inhalers

  • New inhalers would have near-zero Global Warming Potential propellant
  • AstraZeneca also announces all imported electricity coming from renewable sources and sets new supplier targets

AstraZeneca and Honeywell will partner to develop next-generation respiratory inhalers using the propellant HFO-1234ze, which has up to 99.9% less Global Warming Potential (GWP) than propellants currently used in respiratory medicines.1

Today’s announcement coincides with the publication of the Company’s annual Sustainability Report and demonstrates progress on its flagship sustainability programme, Ambition Zero Carbon. The Report also shows that the entirety of AstraZeneca’s imported electricity now comes from renewable sources and that the Company has achieved a 59% reduction in its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2015, including the integration of Alexion’s GHG footprint.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca, said: "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. 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.”

Darius Adamczyk, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Honeywell, said: “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. Our goal is to reduce respiratory healthcare carbon emissions without restricting patient choice or risking improvement in health outcomes.”

Next-generation respiratory inhalers
Most patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need inhaled medicines2 and many make use of pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs)2 which contain small quantities of a type of GHG which acts as the propellant to deliver the medicine into the lungs.3

Recent results from the first in-human Phase I trial of the near-zero GWP propellant HFO-1234ze in a pMDI containing budesonide, glycopyrronium, formoterol fumarate in healthy adults were positive, demonstrating similar safety, tolerability and systemic exposure of the active ingredients when compared to Breztri Aerosphere (budesonide/glycopyrronium/ formoterol fumarate). AstraZeneca expects Breztri to be the first medicine to transition to this new pMDI platform, subject to regulatory approval. In addition to offering next-generation pMDIs, AstraZeneca will continue offering dry powder inhaled medicines.

Respiratory diseases affect hundreds of millions of people around the world and there is a significant clinical need for pMDIs which are important device options for patients.4-9 Familiarity with device, limited lung function, and young or advanced age are all important considerations when choosing the type of inhaler that best suits the patient.5-9

Supply chain science-based climate targets
AstraZeneca is one of the first seven companies globally to have its net zero targets verified by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) in line with their Corporate Net Zero  Standard.  To support its decarbonisation goals, AstraZeneca aims for 95% of its key suppliers and partners to have science-based targets by the end of 2025.

The Company is committed to sharing lessons learned from its own decarbonisation pathway, and is a founding member of the Energize programme launched at COP26 which focuses on increasing access to renewable energy for pharmaceutical supply chains, as well as the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health Systems Taskforce which aims to accelerate the delivery of net zero healthcare.

Read more about the delivery of AstraZeneca’s sustainability commitments in the 2021 Sustainability Report and Sustainability Data Summary published today.


AstraZeneca is a founding partner of the ‘Energize’ programme to increase access to renewable electricity for pharmaceutical supply chains. The first-of-its-kind collaboration among ten of the largest pharmaceutical companies seeks to encourage and support suppliers to buy renewable electricity at scale. Energize will enable AstraZeneca’s suppliers to cut their Scope 2 emissions and in turn the Company’s Scope 3 emissions. The programme will reduce GHG emissions within the healthcare supply chain and contribute to reaching Ambition Zero Carbon goals.

Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) Health Systems Taskforce
AstraZeneca’s commitment to partnering with healthcare systems and partners on sustainable healthcare was evidenced at the launch of the SMI Health Systems Taskforce at COP26, in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales. The Taskforce, led by Pascal Soriot, is comprised of global health leaders from the private and public sectors, and aims to accelerate the delivery of net zero, patient-centric healthcare with a focus on digital healthcare; supply chains and patient care pathways.

AstraZeneca in Respiratory & Immunology
Respiratory & Immunology, part of BioPharmaceuticals, is one of AstraZeneca’s main disease areas and is a key growth driver for the Company.

AstraZeneca is an established leader in respiratory care with a 50-year heritage. The Company aims to transform the treatment of asthma and COPD by focusing on earlier biology-led treatment, eliminating preventable asthma attacks, and removing COPD as a top-three leading cause of death. The Company’s early respiratory research is focused on emerging science involving immune mechanisms, lung damage and abnormal cell-repair processes in disease and neuronal dysfunction.

With common pathways and underlying disease drivers across respiratory and immunology, AstraZeneca is following the science from chronic lung diseases to immunology-driven disease areas. The Company’s growing presence in immunology is focused on five mid- to late-stage franchises with multi-disease potential, in areas including rheumatology (including systemic lupus erythematosus), dermatology, gastroenterology, and systemic eosinophilic-driven diseases. AstraZeneca’s ambition in Respiratory & Immunology is to achieve disease modification and durable remission for millions of patients worldwide.

AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialisation of prescription medicines in Oncology, Rare Diseases, and BioPharmaceuticals, including Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

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1.     AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals. Data on File. Global Warming Potential of HFO-1234ze. (ID: REF-140251).
2.     Usmani OS. Choosing the right inhaler for your asthma or COPD patient. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2019;15:461–472.
3.     Myrdal PB, et al. Advances in metered dose inhaler technology: formulation development. AAPS PharmSciTech. 2014;15(2):434–455. DOI:10.1208/s12249-013-0063-x.
4.     Soriano JB, et al. Prevalence and attributable health burden of chronic respiratory diseases, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet Respir. Med. 2020;8:585-96.
5.     Lavorini F. The challenge of delivering therapeutic aerosols to asthma patients. ISRN Allergy. 2013;102418.
6.     Usmani OS, et al. Inhaler choice guideline. Choosing an appropriate inhaler device for the treatment of adults with asthma or COPD. 2017. Available at: [Last accessed: February 2022]
7.     Roche N, et al. The evolution of pressurized metered-dose inhalers from early to modern devices. J Aerosol Med Pulm Drug Deliv. 2016;4:311–27.
8.     Laube BL, et al. What the pulmonary specialist should know about the new inhalation therapies. Eur Respir J. 2011;37:1308-31.
9.     Lavorini F, et al. Optimising inhaled pharmacotherapy for elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: the importance of delivery devices. Drugs Aging. 2016;33:461–73.

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Last Updated: 22-Feb-2022