Prestigious medical journal The Lancet has published the results from a key study that served as the backbone for the US Food and Administration’s approval of Indivior PLC’s (LON:INDV) next-generation opioid addiction treatment, Sublocade.
The 504-person phase III trial, which was carried out in 2017, showed that addicts receiving Sublocade and counselling were far more likely to stop using opioids than those who were just receiving counselling.
Sublocade was also found to better suppress cravings and withdrawal symptoms, while those using it were generally more satisfied with their medication than those on the placebo.
“These data show Sublocade can be effective in maintaining control of some barriers, making it an important treatment option for patients with moderate to severe opioid use disorder,” said Walter Ling from the University of California.
Sublocade is a once-monthly injection that Indivior hopes will take over from Suboxone – the company’s star asset which is facing severe competition from generic rivals.
It was approved at the end of 2018 and launched last year but has so far failed to live up to the initial hype, with doctors reluctant to prescribe it due to what Indivior called “friction in the new distribution and reimbursement model”.
The injection had originally been expected to deliver sales of around US$100mln in 2018, but it only ended up bringing in US$12mln. Slough-based Indivior expects that to jump to between US$50-70mln in 2019.
That still leaves it well behind where it would have been expected to be at this stage, but bosses remain convinced that its status as a future blockbuster and potentially business-saving drug remains intact.
“The group is making good progress [with] the key performance indicators that it believes will drive accelerated net revenue growth for SUBLOCADE in pursuit of its US$1bn-plus peak net revenue goal,” said Indivior last week.
Indivior shares edged 0.3% higher to 118.7p at the opening bell on Tuesday.