British drugmaker Indivior watched its stock tumble Friday morning following news that it lost a patent dispute with a rival generics drugmaker, compromising Indivior’s grip on the opioid addiction market.
The issue centers on Indivior’s drug Suboxone, which has long been taken as daily strips that dissolve on the tongue. The drug, which accounts for 80% of Indivior’s revenue, contains a mild opioid that helps stymie withdrawal for opioid addicts.
New Jersey-based Alvogen has been shooting for an FDA approval of a generic version of this drug.
The two drugmakers have been mixed up in a patent dispute over the generic drug, but Friday the courts ruled against Indivior, finding Alvogen had not infringed on three of the British firm’s patents.
The company said it would defend its intellectual property and believes it has grounds to appeal.
Indivior’s shares (LON: $INDV) fell to a six month low after the ruling, opening about 20% down from Thursday’s close. The stock has recovered a bit in the early hours of the day, however, and was trading 7% down as of press time at $380.70 per share.
Indivior still has some edge in the opioid addiction market, as it recently got FDA approval to sell a monthly injectable version of Suboxone, which will be marketed under the name Sublocade.
Then again, there’s some competition from rival Vivitrol (made by Alkermes), which recently made its case for equal efficacy to Indivor’s drug. This monthly injection works differently than Suboxone, blocking the effect of opioids. In theory, the competitive edge for Vivitrol is that it contains no opioids — a plus for those ideologically opposed to treating opioid addiction with opioids. But the drug also requires patients to be detoxed entirely from opioids, which can prove problematic for addicted patients.
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