Shares in Indivior soar as the FDA greenlights its opioid addiction drug

Courtney Goldsmith
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Indivior hopes to help battle the US opioid epidemic (Source: Getty)

Drugmaker Indivior's shares got a fresh boost this morning after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of its opioid addiction treatment.

The once-monthly injectable buprenorphine treatment, called Sublocade, is expected to be available to US patients in the first quarter of next year.

"Sublocade is a scientific innovation that represents a new treatment option to help patients attain more illicit opioid-free weeks during their treatment program," said Shaun Thaxter, chief executive of Indivior.

"The urgency for this new treatment has never been greater."

US President Donald Trump earlier this year declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. Nearly 12m people are impacted across the country, and an average of four people die from opioid overdose every hour of every day.

Dr Brent Boyett, Sublocade clinical investigator and director at Boyett Health Services, called Sublocade a "transformational new drug" that offers a treatment option for people with moderate to severe opioid use disorder.

An FDA advisory panel had voted 18 to one to recommend the treatment earlier this month.

In September, Indivior's share price sank nearly 40 per cent in one day after it said a new generic version of one of its drugs could wipe out its market share in the US. With today's boost, shares are trading back around where they were before the crash.

The firm topped the FTSE 250 as its share price rose 11.19 per cent this morning to 412.3p at the time of writing.

"Although this was a little short of where some analysts had suggested, at 414p the stock is trading where it was before the patent setback announced on September 1st, reflecting that fact that sales of the user-friendly Sublocade should replace declining Suboxone sales, on which the company has to date been hugely dependent," said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.

"Management is targeting a potential $1bn in sales, which seems conservative given this would amount to just over 600,000 doses per annum, or to put it another way, about 50,000 patients annually.

"The overall market has seen strong growth the last three years and this ought to continue and may accelerate with federal government focus on the topic."

Read more: Indivior shares jump after an FDA panel approves its opioid addiction drug

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