- Emergent BioSolutions has added the approved naloxone nasal spray, Narcan, to its portfolio by acquiring Adapt Pharma, the company announced Tuesday.
- The transaction will be worth up to $735 million, consisting of a $635 million upfront payment and as much as $100 million in sales-based milestones through 2022.
- Narcan is Adapt's main product and the only nasal form of naloxone indicated for the emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose. The deal also includes Adapt's pipeline of opioid overdose treatment and delivery options, along with 50 employees based in the U.S., Canada and Ireland.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated drug overdoses killed roughly 72,000 Americans last year, more than 49,000 of which were opioid related.
"The U.S. government has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and has identified the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs, such as Narcan nasal spray, as one of the strategies to combat this crisis," Doug White, head of Emergent's devices business unit, said in a statement.
While the acquisition may seem pricey — Adapt has just a single marketed product plus five pipeline assets in preclinical and clinical development — new overdose treatments are a key area of focus for the U.S. government and potentially a fast-growing market. Emergent predicts that Narcan can generate revenues of $200 million to $220 million, and could be accretive to adjusted net income next year.
In April 2018, the U.S. surgeon general released a public health advisory to urge more Americans to carry naloxone. Some of the most important target groups for the task would be first responders, such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical teams. Yet the sheer number of overdoses in the U.S. has put Narcan in high demand, and placed a spotlight on its price.
Last fall, for example, a group of 50 Democratic lawmakers wrote a letter to President Donald Trump that highlighted the rising costs of naloxone products like Narcan.
Adapt CEO Seamus Mulligan said in a statement he hopes the deal will "accelerate access to Narcan nasal spray through investments in public awareness and manufacturing capacity while maintaining a responsible pricing approach."
For Emergent, the Adapt deal furthers its plans to expand in the public health threats market.
Emergent already has a number of agents targeting biological and chemical threats in its portfolio, including an anthrax vaccine. And just last month, Emergent picked up PaxVax, which expanded its pipeline of infectious disease vaccines, along with European-based biologics manufacturing facilities and 250 employees.