Narcan Developer Sets Sights on Heroin Vaccine

10/24/2017 - ATIN - Opiant Pharmaceuticals, the developer of the revolutionary intra-nasal naloxone spray Narcan, is setting its addiction pharma sights on a heroin vaccine, which would work with the immune system to recognize heroin as a disease using the body's immune response to destroy the drug before it can reach the brain.

Opiant CEO Roger Crystal says that while it has been traditionally very difficult to secure funding for expensive development of drugs aimed at combating addiction - there are less than five drugs specifically FDA approved for addiction - Opiant is using the strong profits from booming Narcan sales to help fund the heroin vaccine's development. But with annual sales last year just shy of $18M, Opiant is a tiny company and will no doubt have to seek a pharma development partner to raise the many millions it will take to see the heroin vaccine through intial development as well as clinical trials and the like.

Seperately, while naloxone is about as cheap a drug to produce as exists, experts say its price has been inexplicably skyrocketing in recent years. Costs are equivalent to manufacturing saline yet the price of a dose of naloxone has jumped to $44 from just $12 five years ago. The big price hike may be due to manufacturers such as Pfizer profiteering as demand for naloxone has soared amidst an opiate addiction epidemic.

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