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Richmond-area-based pharma company Indivior buys NARCAN developer Opiant, aims to launch new overdose reversal agent

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Chesterfield-based Indivior, already in the business of opioid addiction treatment, is branching into overdose protection.

The global pharmaceutical company entered into an agreement to acquire Opiant Pharmaceuticals Inc. for a reported $145 million.

Indivior is the company best known for producing Suboxone, a commonly used medication in treating opioid addiction. It also has a newer product Sublocade, a widely used injectable treatment for the same condition.

Opiant is known for developing the overdose-reversing medication NARCAN.

The two companies entered into a definitive agreement for an upfront consideration of $20 per share in cash, plus up to $8.00 per share contingent on meeting upcoming net revenue milestones from the approval and launch of a new product, OPNT003, currently under development by Opiant.

Revenue goals for those contingencies are between $225 million and $325 million within seven years of the product’s launch — or $250 million in four consecutive quarters within the first three years of launch.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of each company.

Indivior Mark Crossley said the acquisition is an “excellent strategic fit that diversifies and strengthens” Indivior’s capability to propel products into the marketplace in both substance use and disorder, and rescue and recovery.

“The combination with Opiant will provide Indivior with one of the most comprehensive and relevant treatment platforms to address the ongoing U.S. opioid and overdose epidemic and extends our leadership position in addiction treatments,” Crossley said.

“We look forward to working with Opiant’s talented team as we undertake our shared mission of changing patients’ lives through access to life-transforming treatment for substance use disorders.”

Opiant’s soon-to-market OPNT003 was driven by the increase in prevalence of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The overdose reversal agent received an FDA Fast Track Designation in November 2021. The companies said they expect approval in third quarter 2023 with a launch in the United States in the months to follow.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement that reflects the great potential Opiant has created with OPNT003 and our pipeline of medicines,” said Roger Crystal, Opiant’s president and CEO. “This transaction combines Opiant with an organization that shares our patient-focused mindset, and we believe creates immediate value for patients, our employees and our stockholders. It will enable us to leverage Indivior’s global scale, commercial strength and scientific expertise to accelerate our mission to create best-in-class medicines for the treatment of substance use disorders and drug overdose.”

Indivior said it expects annual net revenue between $150 million and $250 million based on OPNT003’s clinical profile.

Opiant had been trading for around $9.50 per share before the purchase was announced. Its current stock price is hovering around $20.16 per share.

Opiant’s third quarter financial statements showed a loss of nearly $25.5 million over the same time in 2021. Royalty payments dropped $23.2 million since 2021, with NARCAN going generic in December 2021. Opiant’s third quarter statement reflected an operating loss of $32.8 million.

Opiant lost $33.8 million for the first nine months of the year, as royalties from its flagship NARCAN product fell — they vanished altogether in the July to September quarter.

Opiant was only a fraction the size of Indivior, even before royalty payments fell. Opiant’s 2021 revenue was $47.8 million versus Indivior, which recorded $791 million in net revenue that year.

Opiant has other products in its research pipeline. OPNT002 is an “investigational nasal naltrexone” product targeting alcohol use disorder to reduce the craving for alcohol. It is expected to be a self-administered medication. It also has a product in its pre-clinical program, OPNT004, for acute cannabinoid overdose

sjones1@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6911

Twitter: @SeanJones_RTD

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