Indivior CEO looks beyond 2015 after troubled Reckitt pharma unit's spinoff

Indivior CEO Shaun Thaxter

It's new year, new company for Reckitt Benckiser's pharma unit, spun off into Indivior last week. And while 2015 might not be the easiest for the newly minted drugmaker, CEO Shaun Thaxter says investors have much to look forward to a little further down the line.

Addiction specialist Indivior, whose name comes from fusing the words "individual" and "endeavor" to reflect the challenges addiction patients face, has a lot going for it, Thaxter told FiercePharma.

First, it has an underserved patient pool ready and waiting, with millions of people globally battling dependence on alcohol, cocaine, opiates and other drugs. Second, it has governments around the world looking for new ways to tackle the public health crisis. And third, it has a pipeline of drugs it expects to hit the market over the next few years, including a pair in late-stage development.

The problem? The near term. Indivior currently relies on heroin addiction drug Suboxone, which has seen better days. Generic competition has put its sales on the decline, with analysts expecting a 12.5% drop to £680 million for 2014.

But the way Thaxter sees it, the sales woes won't last. Indivior is working on next-gen versions of the product, and while the company may have follow-on competitors, it doesn't have any "leadership rivals" to challenge it for its spot in the addiction arena. "Although we have near-term competitive pressures like any company, we'll work through these and have a very attractive growth profile in the future," he said.

That includes the launches of abuse-deterrent, compliance-enhancing technologies, with Indivior expecting one new rollout every year between 2016 and 2020, according to Thaxter. To support those launches, the company will continue to invest in its U.S. sales force, which currently boasts between 200 and 300 reps, and its European force.

And in the meantime, the Richmond, VA-based pharma will put the resources that come with its new standalone status into business development as it moves to expand geographically, license new technologies and enter the M&A playing field--all the while working to open up to investors.

"We now have the opportunity to get them closer to what we do, to give transparency and a clear understanding," Thaxter said. "We look forward to welcoming some direct shareholder interaction." -- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)