Opiant Pharmaceuticals has signed a licensing agreement with Sanofi for the development and commercialisation of drinabant across the globe for the treatment of acute cannabinoid overdose (ACO).
ACO is commonly associated with the ingestion of ‘edibles’ such as brownies, cookies and candies that contain large quantities of D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and synthetic cannabinoids that are more potent and cheaper than marijuana.
As part of the agreement, Opiant is expected to develop drinabant, a cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB-1) antagonist, as an injection that can be used in the event of an emergency.
Opiant will also pay an upfront fee of $500,000 to Sanofi. Based on the success of certain clinical, regulatory and sales milestones, Opiant will also make additional payments to Sanofi.
Furthermore, Opiant will be responsible for all development and commercial activities related to drinabant.
Opiant Pharmaceuticals CEO Roger Crystal said: “This agreement with Sanofi is indicative of our leadership and commitment to developing best-in-class treatments for addictions and drug overdose.
“We are encouraged by both the safety profile of drinabant, as well as the potential of an injectable CB-1 antagonist to rapidly reverse the symptoms of ACO and address a growing medical need.
“We intend to initiate development efforts in 2019 and commence clinical studies thereafter.”
A previous clinical trial, jointly carried out by Sanofi and Centre for Human Drug Research, showed that oral administration of drinabant blocked both subjective and objective effects of inhaled THC.
However, the slow onset of action created by oral drinabant has prompted the need to develop an injectable version that can rapidly treat the symptoms of ACO in case of an emergency.
The safety of oral drinabant is also supported by various Phase l and ll studies previously conducted by Sanofi.