Emergent BioSolutions (NYSE: EBS) announced on Tuesday it would buy privately held Adapt Pharma, strengthening its portfolio with Narcan, the only FDA approved needle-free emergency opioid overdose treatment. Addiction to opioids – mainly prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl – has emerged as a serious public health crisis in the United States, especially in rural areas. According to the U.S. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, the epidemic took over 70,000 lives last year.
Emergent’s shares were up marginally in after-hours trading on Tuesday, while those of Opiant Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: OPNT), Adapt’s commercial partner, jumped nearly 42%. Emergent said it had “no plans to change” Narcan’s pricing and would maintain the 40% discount available to state and local governments and non-profit organizations. “Adapt has put together a strong, durable supply chain of partners to support the manufacture of the product. We do not intend to disrupt that,” an Emergent executive said on a conference call with analysts.
Tuesday’s deal comprises an upfront cash-and-stock payment of USD 635 Million and up to USD 100 Million in cash linked to sales-based milestones through 2022, Emergent said. The Company will also gain access to Adapt’s pipeline of treatments to address opioid overdose, as well as about 50 employees in the United States, Canada and Ireland. The deal fits in with Emergent’s strategy of focusing on treatments for public health threats and the Company is currently developing a vaccine for bat-borne Nipah virus. Emergent is looking to achieve or exceed its USD 1 Billion in revenue goal in 2020 and as part of the plan recently acquired specialty vaccines company, PaxVax.