Billing itself as the “world leader in opioid addiction treatment,” Indivior (INDV.L) is looking to diversify into treating cannabis use disorder.
The North Chesterfield, Va.–The headquartered company will spend $30 million upfront to acquire Aelis Farma for development rights for AEF0117, an investigational drug that blocks the CB1 cannabinoid receptor in the brain. In addition to cannabis use disorder, the experimental drug could also potentially treat cannabis-induced psychosis.
AEF0117 has shown promise in Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials. AEF0117 is a first-in-class signaling-specific inhibitor, according to Indivior.
Aelis stands to rake in an additional $100 million if the drug candidate meets additional milestones, including succeeding in a planned Phase 2b study.
Indivior, like many other companies with opioid-based products, has faced significant legal pressures in the U.S. as the country grapples with an ongoing opioid epidemic.
In a statement, Indivior CEO Mar Crossley explained that cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs globally and the third most commonly used substance of abuse in the U.S. after alcohol and tobacco. There are, however, “no FDA-approved medications for cannabis-related disorders, which are complex and concerning,” Crossley said. “AEF0117 is the most advanced new chemical entity under investigation in the clinic and potentially represents a unique opportunity to address a growing unmet public health need.”
Filed Under: Drug Discovery and Development