Narcan developer working on opioid addiction vaccine, CEO says

By Alexandra Tendler Features FOXBusiness

New tool to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses

Opiant Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr. Roger Crystal on efforts to battle the opioid crisis in America.

The opioid epidemic claims thousands of lives in the U.S. each year, but a new nasal spray from Opiant Pharmaceuticals aims to prevent fatal overdoses.

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“We developed a formulation and then proved that this formulation, when delivered nasally, could be as quickly absorbed as an injection, if not a little bit quicker actually,” Dr. Roger Crystal, CEO of Opiant Pharmaceuticals, told the FOX Business Network Wednesday. “Once you have a product that’s a nasal spray rather than an injection, far more people are willing to use it and able to use it.”

The Narcan nasal spray can be easily administered by anyone and is already being used by half of the NYPD.

“In different situations the responder might be for example the police force as you mentioned earlier...or for example the mother of a teenager who knows that her son is an addict, and for that person to have Narcan nasal spray at their home…would be very important.”

The opioid crisis takes up to 91 lives a day and costs nearly $80 billion a year in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the Narcan nasal spray is a short-term fix, Opiant Pharmaceuticals says it is devoted to finding long-term solutions that will eventually prevent addiction.

“We have some early stage programs; one for example is a heroin vaccine…but then the other area we are looking at…is the implant and depot space where you can have longer acting opioid antagonists…in order to prevent people getting high from opioids.”

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Dr. Crystal says Washington continues to support funding for the fight against opioid addiction and overdose.

“One of the few consistencies between the Obama administration and the Trump administration is their commitment to the opioid crisis and actually their recognition of addiction more broadly.”

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