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Indivior inks deal worth US$330mln as it searches for the next generation addiction treatment

It is teaming up with Addex Therapeutics (market capitalisation £26.5mln), which is developing drugs that target the GABAB receptor pathway in the brain
junkie with needle
The company makes 90% of its revenues from a heroin substitute called Suboxone

Indivior PLC (LON:INDV), the maker of heroin substitute Suboxone, is turning to a small Swiss drug developer for help sourcing the next generation of addiction treatments in a deal potentially worth up to US$330mln.

It is teaming up with Addex Therapeutics (market capitalisation £26.5mln), which is developing drugs that target the GABAB receptor pathway in the brain.

READ: FDA accepts Indivior’s new drug application for schizophrenia treatment

The new generation of drugs, called GABAB positive allosteric modulators, have shown they have the potential to treat alcohol and cocaine abuse. It should be cautioned the research is early stage and tests have only ever been carried out in animals.

Promising advance

But Addex’s research is promising enough to have received a US$5.3mln grant from a national drug abuse programme.

Indivior is paying US$5mln upfront and will fund research for the next two years with the aim of developing a commercially viable addiction product.

The collaboration includes a global licence to lead candidate ADX71441, which is expected to enter phase I clinical studies next year. It also includes exclusivity over backup compounds.

"As part of our leadership position in addiction, among the key priorities we are pursuing is continuing to review and invest in promising new treatments for this chronic and relapsing disease," said Shaun Thaxter, chief executive of Indivior.

Horror show

In September, the company saw around £1bn wiped from its market valuation after a court ruling that effectively opened the floodgates to cheap, copycat competition to its lead product, Suboxone Film.

The drug, which is estimated to have generated around £850mln in sales last year, accounts for around 90% of Indivior’s annual turnover.

Since then, the company has fought a legal rear-guard action to protect its top seller and it is ushering in new lines, including a slow release version of Suboxone.

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