Suboxone Still Delivering Huge Profit Margins
10/04/2018 -ATIN- Buprenorphine pioneer Invidior, a british pharma whose sole focus is addiction MAT therapies, is still pumping out huge profit margins on its core Suboxone branded medication, although generics competition has cut the drug's sales in half since 2012.

Last week, Invidior said it expects Suboxone sales of approximately $1B in its 2018 fiscal year with an eye popping net profit margin of 25%, or $250M.  The fat margins allowed Invidior to pay down $150M of debt earlier this year.

Invidior's bup strategy is twofold. On the one hand the company is aggressively pursuing patent infringement suits in Federal court against generic competition, while at the same time also pursuing the vintage pharma "old wine in a new bottle" sleight-of-hand.

Invidior this summer got a preliminary injunction barring New Jersey-based Dr. Reddy's Laboratories from selling its bup/naloxone generic. And the company is rolling out its Sublocade branded therapy. Sublocade is Suboxone delivered in a monthly injection format, which allows Invidior to charge far more because the drug operates under a new patent, thus "old wine in a new bottle."

Another pharma, Alkermes, pursued that same strategy when it put generic naltrexone in a monthly injection and called it Vivitrol, whose sales have been turbocharged of late as the opiate crisis has opened huge state, federal and private insurance funding for MAT therapies. President Trump is expected to sign a bill this month that allocates billions to the fight against opiate use disorder.

There is little doubt that Invidior will also be attempting to tap into the opiate funding wave with Sublocade. Though early results are disappointing. Last week Invidior lowered its sales expectations for Sublocade in 2018 to at most $10M, down from the previous estimate of $25M.

The advertised cash pay price for Sublocade is a staggering $18K, a price on which Individior will very likely offer large discounts. Still, the cost of generic Suboxone is now a few hundred dollars a month.

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