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Buprenorphine Opioid Addiction Treatment Idea Proposal

Buprenorphine Opioid Addiction Treatment Idea Proposal

Will long acting implantable and injectable buprenorphine become widely adopted for opioid addiction treatment?

Report Available: April 8, 2016


Blueshift’s initial research shows that addiction to opioids has skyrocketed to the point of being an epidemic. Current available treatment options face numerous challenges including frequent dosing, poor adherence, high incidence of relapse, and misuse. As an alternative, new long-acting treatments are being developed where buprenorphine, an opioid medication designed to treat opioid addiction, can be implanted or injected weekly or monthly. The first such treatment is before the FDA and, if approved, could be available in the next 3 to 6 months.



  1. Twenty one million Americans 12 years or older had a substance use disorder in 2014. Almost 2 million were abusing prescription pain relievers, and close to 600,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin. Approximately 23% of individuals who use heroin develop opioid addiction. Substance abuse costs the U.S. over $600 billion per year and, in addition to saving and improving lives, treatment can also create cost savings as in the case of methadone treatment, which averages $4,700 cost per patient in one year compared to a year in prison which costs approximately $24,000 per person.
  2. Current treatments have relatively short durations of action, which leads to the need for frequent dosing with long treatment periods. This has led to poor adherence and a high chance of relapse and misuse of the medication. In clinical trials, the new long-acting buprenorphine implantable/injectable have shown that once administered they reduce the frequency of dosing, and improve compliance and adherence while reducing drug seeking behavior and misuse.
  3. Several companies are poised to introduce buprenorphine treatments for opioid addiction, including Titan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (TTNP) and Braeburn Pharmaceuticals, which have Probuphine before the FDA now. Braeburn and Camurus AB (CAMX) are in Phase 2 studies and have FDA Fast Track designation for CAM 2038. Indivior PLC (INDV) has RBP-6000, a 1-month depot injection in Phase 3 trials, and BioDelivery Sciences International Inc. (BDSI) has a depot injection in formulation development, as does Heron Therapeutics Inc. (HRTX) with its HTX-003.
  4. In a primary interview with Blueshift Research, a certified substance abuse counselor indicated that there is a big market for buprenorphine in injectable and implant form as it allows for the treatment of the many opioid addicted patients who want to get clean but are hesitant to go to methadone clinics since they are not heroin addicts and do not want to deal with the stigma of the clinic. Having physicians able to prescribe injectables or implants opens up treatment to a new group of opioid addicted patients and gives them the help they otherwise would not get, since they do not want to take the step of going to a clinic or treatment facility.


What is the appetite in the market for injectable and implant products using buprenorphine to treat opioid addiction? How do physicians view this option? How willing are third-party payers and patients to pay for these new treatments? What is reasonable for pricing? What are the trends and drivers in this market? Who are the winners and losers? To answer these and other questions, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: Medical professionals, Third-party payers, Opioid addiction treatment sales channel, Addiction treatment professionals, and Industry specialists.


Companies: BioDelivery Sciences International Inc. (BDSI), Camurus AB (CAMX), Heron Therapeutics Inc. (HRTX), Indivior PLC (INDV), Orexo AB (ORXOF), Relmada Therapeutics Inc. (RLMD)


Research Begins: March 28, 2016