LONDON May 19 Reckitt Benckiser Group's
pharmaceuticals unit plans to develop a nasal spray to treat
overdoses of heroin and some prescription painkillers, the
company said on Monday.
Reckitt, better known for its Mucinex cold medicine and
Durex condoms, said it had entered into an agreement with AntiOp
Inc to co-develop the spray, with the option to buy all rights
to it upon receipt of regulatory and marketing approval.
The deal diversifies Reckitt's shrinking pharmaceuticals
unit, which is currently the subject of a strategic review as it
sits outside the company's core business in consumer products.
This is the second such deal in less than a week and could
help the company get a better valuation in a market flotation of
the unit, which is what Reckitt has said it was leaning toward.
Reckitt said last week it would develop a drug to treat
alcohol abuse, in addition to its Suboxone treatment, which
treats addiction to heroin and opioid painkillers such as
morphine and oxycodone. Suboxone sales are falling due to
competition from cheaper generic versions.
When it comes to treating overdoses, the current standard
medical protocol is an injection of the medicine naloxone. The
new product aims to deliver naloxone in a nasal spray, which
would be easier for family or caregivers to administer.
Drug overdoses have surpassed car crashes to become the
leading cause of injury death in the United States, as use of
opioids has increased steadily over the past decade.
(Reporting by Martinne Geller, Editing by Louise Heavens and