GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) has launched respiratory medicine Breo Ellipta, an achievement that sets up the pharmaceutical company for a $30 million milestone payment from drug partner Theravance (NASDAQ:THRX).

Breo Ellipta is a once-daily inhaled drug developed to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. The condition, sometimes called “smoker’s cough,” causes airway obstruction that interferes with normal breathing. COPD affects as many as 27 million people in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

GSK and South San Francisco-based Theravance have been working together to develop new respiratory drugs for more than a decade. Under a 2002 collaboration agreement, Theravance agreed to make a milestone payment of $30 million to GSK following the launch of Breo Ellipta in the United States. Theravance stands to gain annual royalties of 15 percent on the first $3.0 billion of annual global net sales. After that, the royalty drops to 5 percent.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Breo Ellipta in May. Breo Ellipta delivers a combination of two drugs that reduce inflammation in the lungs and relax airways to ease breathing. The drug is not approved to treat asthma,

London-based GSK operates its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park.