Irish drugmaker sold for €540 million

The Irish pharmaceutical company behind a front-line opioid rescue drug now commonly used in the United States has been sold for more than half a billion euros.

Dublin-based Adapt Pharma, which developed a non-injectable form of Naloxone, will be acquired by Emergent BioSolutions, the companies have announced.

Branded as Narcan, the nasal spray blocks the effects of drugs such as heroin and fentanyl to revive overdose victims, and can be administered by people without medical training.

The drug has been touted as a front-line treatment to combat the opioid drug crisis in the US, which claimed more tens of thousands of lives every year from overdoses.

Seamus Mulligan, chairman and chief executive officer of Adapt, said the deal will see the companies focus on critical treatments to combat the opioid crisis, “one of the leading public health issues of our time.”

“With a shared mission of protecting lives from public health threats, I am confident that our combined expertise and resources will accelerate access to NARCAN® Nasal Spray through investments in public awareness and manufacturing capacity while maintaining a responsible pricing approach,” he said.

Mr Mulligan said all employees and facilities would be retained.

In a statement, Daniel J. Abdun-Nabi, chief executive of Emergent BioSolutions, said the acquisition of Adapt Pharma was directly linked to its mission to protect and enhance life.

“By leveraging Emergent’s core competencies and 20-year track record as a trusted partner to the Federal government, and Adapt’s demonstrated success with state and local government, first responder, and commercial channels, we expect to combine efforts to address the opioid overdose epidemic,” he said.

“We look forward to welcoming the Adapt team so together we can further expand awareness and availability of this potentially life-saving treatment against this serious public health threat.”

The deal, worth about €540 million, is expected to close before the end of the year.

Narcan became available in the US in 2016 and is the first and only needle-free formulation of naloxone approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. It is distributed to health agencies, first responders and retail pharmacies.

The US government has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and has identified overdose-reversing drugs, such as Narcan, as one of the strategies to fight the epidemic.

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