Intellipharmaceutics raises $5M to advance tamper-resistant oxycodone

Canada's Intellipharmaceutics International ($IPCI), a specialist in controlled-release drug formulations, will hold a stock offering to raise a cool $5 million for a variety of new projects. Among the more intriguing ones: anticipated U.S. clinical trials for Rexista, a patented version of the highly addictive pain killer oxycodone designed to resist abuse.

The company produces a number of generic drugs, but Rexista is a brand product, designed to be taken orally and maintain its controlled-release structure, even when mixed with alcohol. It's also tamper-resistant, less able to be crushed into a powder for inhalation or to be liquified for injection. Altering other versions of oxycodone by crushing or mixing it with alcohol can release the entire dose at once, leading to an intense, addictive high.

So far, Intellipharmaceutics has held a pilot clinical trial for Rexista in which it maintained its controlled-release process more than 24 hours, comparable to two doses of Oxycontin spaced out at 12 hour intervals, according to the company's website.

The Toronto-based company said it would use the funding to file abbreviated new drug applications with the FDA for Rexista clinical trials as well as fuel testing for other products. Expect the cash infusion to also propel future partnerships. Intellipharmaceutics' registered direct common share offering is priced at $2.75 per share, with an aggregate of more than 1.8 million shares going to the investors.

Intellipharmaceutics competes with many other companies in this space that are further along. Collegium Pharmaceutical, for example, raised $22.5 million in a Series B round last month to propel its own extended-release tamper-resistant oxycodone variation through remaining clinical trials. Plans call for filing for FDA approval next year, after a late-stage clinical trial now under way. Purdue Pharma has its own tamper-resistant iteration that gained FDA approval in 2010.

- here's the release