Opiant Pharmaceuticals Announces Contract with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority for Up to $4.6 Million to Accelerate Development of OPNT003

- September 21st, 2018

Opiant Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPNT), a specialty pharmaceutical company developing pharmacological treatments for addictions and drug overdose, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year contract with potential funding up to a maximum of approximately $4.6 million, with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of … Continued

Opiant Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:OPNT), a specialty pharmaceutical company developing pharmacological treatments for addictions and drug overdose, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year contract with potential funding up to a maximum of approximately $4.6 million, with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, to accelerate Opiant’s development of OPTN003, its lead product candidate. OPTN003, nasal nalmefene, is a potent, long-acting opioid antagonist currently in development for the treatment of opioid overdose.

As quoted in the press release:

Opioid overdose is a significant public health crisis worsened by the increasing prevalence of synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50-fold more potent than heroin, far easier and less expensive to produce and has a significantly longer half-life. Fentanyl and related synthetic opioids were linked to more than 55% of the nearly 49,000 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 in the U.S.

In the early 2000s, fentanyl vapor was used by Russian forces to end a hostage standoff with Chechen rebels, resulting in 117 deaths and hundreds more hospitalized, illustrating the potential for weaponizing synthetic opioids.  The contract with BARDA will allow for accelerated development of OPNT003 as a medical countermeasure in the event of a fentanyl chemical attack. The high affinity of nalmefene at mu opioid receptors, combined with a rapid onset of action and long duration of action, makes it particularly well-suited to treat fentanyl overdose.

“Current treatments sometimes require multiple doses to be effective and in a large-scale terrorist attack involving fentanyl or similar drugs, repeat doses of the treatment may not always be feasible,” said Rick Bright, Ph.D., director of BARDA. “BARDA is committed to developing opioid exposure treatments to protect public health and our nation’s health security.”

Click here to read the full press release.

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