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Reckitt Benckiser Pharma, AntiOp enters into agreement to develop naloxone nasal spray for opioid overdose

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals has entered into a definitive agreement with AntiOp to co-develop a naloxone nasal spray to aid in the reversal of opioid overdose with the option to acquire all rights to the product upon receipt of regulatory and marketing approval.

The product has the potential to be the first of its kind to treat overdose from opioid prescription painkillers and heroin – a growing epidemic in the US.

Currently, the standard medical protocol for treating opioid overdose is to administer an injectable form of naloxone. It must be administered intravenously or as a shot into muscle or under the skin. There is a lack of familiarity or comfort with injectable medication administration among non-medical personnel and emergency first responders.

This product aims to fulfill an unmet need by providing family members and caregivers – who are often on the frontlines at the time of overdose – with a nasal alternative utilizing the novel medication delivery expertise of AntiOp.

Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals CEO Shaun Thaxter said that this strategic agreement partners the innovative science of AntiOp, led by Dr Daniel Wermeling, renowned for his work in the nasal delivery of medication, with the pioneering leadership of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals as an innovator in opioid dependence treatment for more than a decade.

"Together, we are uniquely suited to bring this product to market and are excited about the potential to help the many patients each year who succumb to opioid overdose.6 Naloxone nasal spray is a strong, strategic fit to our portfolio further strengthening our capabilities to provide much needed treatment services for the chronic relapsing conditions of addiction," Dr Thaxter added.

Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by opioid prescription medication overdose deaths, are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States – surpassing motor vehicle crashes. Use of opioids has been steadily increasing over the past decade,8,9 while opioid-related drug overdose deaths have more than tripled in the past 12 years driven primarily by the abuse of opioid prescription painkillers.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 45 people died each day on average from opioid prescription painkiller overdoses, claiming more than 16,651 lives in 2010 alone.

AntiOp’s nasal formulation is a pre-filled, unit-dose, disposable delivery system designed for insertion into the nose of an overdose victim to administer naloxone across the nasal mucosal membrane for absorption. The needle-free device was selected to facilitate broader access to this treatment.