Indivior inks $145M Opiant buyout to add nasal opioid overdose drug to portfolio

Indivior has snapped up Opiant Pharmaceuticals for an initial $145 million, capitalizing on the fall of the company’s share price throughout the year to add a near-approval nasal formulation of nalmefene to its portfolio. 

Nalmefene came to market in an injectable formulation in the 1990s but was pulled in 2008. Opiant’s bid to resurrect the molecule in a nasal delivery format is built on evidence that its half-life and affinity for opiate receptors may make it better than naloxone, the active ingredient in Narcan, at treating overdoses on synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

With Opiant aiming to finish a rolling submission to the FDA by the end of the year, Indivior has made its move. The Virginia-based pharma company has agreed to pay $20 a share for Opiant, resulting in a $145 million upfront fee, with a further $8 a share to follow if certain sales targets are achieved. 

Indivior has split the $8 per share in contingent value rights between four milestones, positioning it to pay $2 per CVR when OPNT003 net revenues top $225 million, $300 million and $325 million over four consecutive quarters in its first seven years on the U.S. market. Shareholders will receive the other $2 CVR if OPNT003 racks up $250 million in sales over four consecutive quarters in the first three years.

Explaining the rationale for the takeover in a statement, Indivior CEO Mark Crossley said the deal will create “one of the most comprehensive and relevant treatment platforms to address the ongoing U.S. opioid and overdose epidemic” and bring together complementary resources.

“Opiant’s portfolio of product candidates is an excellent strategic fit that diversifies and strengthens our offerings, while Indivior’s strong commercial capabilities are expected to propel a combined product pipeline with the potential to help patients along a continuum from substance use disorder and rescue to recovery,” Crossley said.