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Reckitt Benckiser to co-develop nasal treatment for opioid overdose
May 20th, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. – Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc. has entered into an agreement with AntiOp Inc. to co-develop a naloxone nasal spray to aid in the reversal of opioid overdose.
Reckitt Benckiser said 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 United States.
Currently, the standard medical protocol for treating opioid overdose is to administer an injectable form of naloxone, either intravenously or as a shot into muscle or under the skin. However, Reckitt Benckiser noted, there is a lack of familiarity or comfort with injectable medication administration among nonmedical personnel and emergency first responders.
The new product aims to provide family members and caregivers — who are often on the frontlines at the time of overdose — with a nasal option that uses the novel medication delivery expertise of AntiOp.
"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," stated Shaun Thaxter, chief executive officer of Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals. "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. 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."
AntiOp's nasal formulation is a prefilled, 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, the companies said.
Under the agreement, Reckitt Benckiser also receives the option to acquire all rights to the product upon receipt of regulatory and marketing approval.
Drug overdose deaths, driven largely by opioid prescription medication overdoses, are now the leading cause of injury death in the United States, surpassing motor vehicle crashes, Reckitt Benckiser reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45 people die each day, on average, from opioid prescription painkiller overdoses.