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BioDelivery Sciences Lands $20M to Prep for Drug Launch

Xconomy Raleigh-Durham — 

BioDelivery Sciences International has added $20.7 million to its coffers as the specialty pharmaceutical company prepares for the commercial launch of its opioid addiction treatment.

Raleigh, NC-based BioDelivery (NASDAQ: BDSI) secured the debt funding from MidCap Financial. BioDelivery’s total debt with MidCap now stands at $30 million.

BioDelivery’s opioid addiction treatment is not a new drug, rather, it’s a new way to deliver old drugs used for treating opioid addiction and deterring abuse. The company’s product, Bunavail, administers buprenorphine and naloxone via a small piece of dissolvable film placed on the inside of the cheek. BioDelivery has already commercialized a cancer pain treatment administered using the same proprietary drug-delivery technology. The FDA approved Bunavail nearly a year ago.

The buprenorphine and naloxone combination is currently available in the dissolvable film product Suboxone. That product, developed by Reckitt Benckiser and now sold by Indivior (LON: INDV), which spun off from Reckitt Benckiser in late 2014, is administered by placing the film under the tongue. Indivior’s more than $1 billion in 2014 Suboxone sales makes it the market leader for opioid addiction treatments. But the company’s market share slipped from 67 percent in 2013 to 58 percent in 2014, due to competition from generic tablets that also work by being placed under the tongue. BioDelivery’s Bunavail will offer yet another alternative, which the company says brings the additional advantage of dissolving more quickly while also avoiding an unpleasant taste that some patients report from the current slate of dissolvable opioid addiction products.

In addition to securing more capital, BioDelivery has taken other steps to prepare for the launch of its drug. The company announced last week the hiring of sales and marketing managers from Salix Pharmaceuticals, a Raleigh company that was acquired in April by Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX). BioDelivery has also taken on some sales managers from Durham, NC-based Quintiles (NYSE: Q), the pharmaceutical services company contracted to handle sales.

BioDelivery initially secured a $20 million loan facility with MidCap in 2013. That loan has been paid down to approximately $9.3 million.