Indivior plans cheaper opioid addiction drug to keep copycats at bay

(Reuters) – Indivior Plc (INDV.L) said it will launch a cheaper version of its blockbuster opioid addiction treatment, Suboxone, as it seeks to claw back market share lost to copycat versions of the drug.

The British drugmaker is also looking to reduce its dependence on Suboxone, which accounts for about 80 percent of its revenue, by focusing on another opioid addiction drug Sublocade and schizophrenia treatment Perseris.

It expects four generic versions of Suboxone in the market, including its own, Chief Executive Shaun Thaxter said in a call with analysts after Indivior gave a trading update on Tuesday.

Last week Indivior won a fresh hold against a knock-off version from Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories (REDY.NS), while Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA.TA) said in September it would hold off launching its version until Indivior’s other cases were resolved.

Indivior said it expects its cheaper Suboxone copy to generate revenue in the range of tens of millions of dollars, but did not specify when it would be launched.

Shares of the FTSE-250 company, which have fallen over 70 percent this year, were up 14 percent at 108.25 pence after the company’s strategy update on Tuesday.

In the face of competitors to Suboxone, Indivior has put in place a contingency plan, which includes having a minimum cash balance of $250 million to remain in compliance with its debt covenants. The company had a cash balance of about $910 million as of the end of November.

The drugmaker, whose plans also include more cost cuts, maintained its full-year profit and sales forecasts, with revenue from Sublocade expected to exceed its target.

(For a graphic on ‘Indivior’s H2 2018 woes’ click tmsnrt.rs/2R2UL5b)

The drugmaker, spun off from consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) in 2014, also said it would launch Perseris in the United States in February and that it was confident of the drug meeting a peak net revenue goal of $200 million to $300 million.

Indivior, which cut its revenue estimates for Sublocade in September, said it now expects revenue from the drug to exceed the top end of its previous 2018 forecast range of $8 million to $10 million by about $2 million.

The company said it was confident of the drug generating peak net revenue of more than $1 billion.

(For a graphic on ‘Indivior Battles Copycats’ click tmsnrt.rs/2A29Udr)

Reporting by Arathy S Nair, Pushkala Aripaka and Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Susan Fenton

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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