A Kentucky company headed by a recognized expert in nasal delivery of medication says its intranasal naloxone spray, a drug designed to treat opioid overdoses, has received Fast Track designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Fast Track program of the FDA is designed to expedite the development and review of new drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions and that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. Fast Track-designated drugs ordinarily qualify for priority review, thereby expediting the FDA review process. AntiOp and the FDA may also be able to employ additional tools to expedite the FDA review process such as “rolling submission,” whereby AntiOp may submit portions of the new drug application (NDA) in a staged NDA submission process.
“The FDA has been very supportive of how we are developing our technology,” said AntiOp founder and CEO Daniel Wermeling. “This Fast Track designation, combined with our recent collaboration with Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc., validates our vision and belief that this drug has the potential to fulfill an unmet medical need in the U.S.” The latest data from the CDC, for 2011 data, demonstrated that the national opioid overdose death rate continues to climb. A new ready-to-use, needle-free, naloxone delivery system may provide medical providers and their patients more options to rescue a loved one.
“We view the FDA decision to grant Fast Track designation to AntiOp for intranasal naloxone as an exciting and positive first step toward accelerating the commercialization of a simple, ready-to-use treatment needed to address the growing epidemic of opioid overdose,” said Shaun Thaxter, CEO, Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Wermeling added that the company has received continuing support from the National Institutes of Health and its National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which recently approved grant funding of $1 million annually for three years to advance development of AntiOp’s naloxone spray. Total federal and state grant funding to date exceeds $5 million, almost $4.5 million of that from the NIDA.
In addition, the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet has provided AntiOp with development funding. Wermeling added that the University of Kentucky Colleges of Pharmacy and Medicine and the National Institutes of Health Center for Clinical and Translational Science have provided critical support to AntiOp.
“We have had tremendous help from so many organizations and individuals who are motivated by the great potential of this product,” Wermeling said, “and we are proud to have them on our team.”
Deaths due to opioid overdose have tripled since 1990, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC’s most recent data reveal approximately 16,500 deaths occur in the U.S. each year from prescription opioids. Studies have shown that approximately 800,000 ambulance runs occur each year in the U.S. in response to suspected opioid overdoses, involving both prescription medications and heroin. Commonly prescribed opioid painkillers include hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone and oxymorphone.