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By M. Marin
Growing need for improved drug safety features …
Nutriband Inc. (NTRB:NASDAQ) is an emerging a biopharma and medical device company developing a portfolio of transdermal pharmaceutical products. The company’s initial focus is on solutions to help mitigate the abuse of opioids such as fentanyl and other addictive drugs. The need to address the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and globally creates opportunities for solutions such as those that Nutriband is developing. The company’s lead product is an abuse deterrent fentanyl transdermal system, incorporating its abuse deterrent technology, AVERSA®.
… supports company’s optimistic outlook
Nutriband is optimistic about the prospects of its patented AVERSA technology, which incorporates aversive agents designed to deter and minimize the risk of abusing drugs such as fentanyl and others. AVERSA combines two highly unpleasant substances as an adherent on the back of the patch. Neither is toxic. Both are safe for human consumption and non-toxic food grade, which is a key part of the company's strategy. (Both have extremely bitter and hot flavors that make it extremely difficult to extract or abuse the drug.) The company’s goal is to improve the safety profile of drugs such as fentanyl so that they can be prescribed and used legitimately as intended.
The need to address the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and globally creates opportunities for solutions such as those that Nutriband is developing. CDC data indicates that domestic deaths from drug overdoses in a 12-month period recently passed 100,000 for the first time ever, with overdose deaths up 29% in the 12-months ended April 2021 to 100,306. In addition to deliberate abuse of fentanyl and other drugs, there is a high risk of accidental harmful and potentially lethal ingestion. For instance, FDA instructions on improving the safety of fentanyl include a webpage titled, ‘‘Accidental Exposures to Fentanyl Patches Continue to be Deadly to Children,’ citing unintended exposure to medication as a leading cause of poisoning in children.
There is also a significant economic cost associated with opioid abuse. The CDC estimates the U.S. cost of prescription opioid misuse at about $78.5 billion per annum, when factoring in healthcare costs, lost productivity, addiction treatment and the involvement of the criminal justice system.
IP protection & product pipeline …
NTRB has received patent protection from the European Patent Office and patent offices in Mexico, Korea, Russia, Australia and Japan and recently received a notice of allowance from the USPTO, with the full patent expected imminently, according to management.
… includes several products under development leveraging AVERSA
The AVERSA technology can be applied broadly to improve the safe delivery of a wide range of drugs and NTRB plans to develop and seek FDA approval of additional transdermal pharmaceutical products that it is developing. U.S. deaths from drug overdoses are increasing, as noted, suggesting a growing need for improvements in safe delivery and abuse deterrents.
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