Kempharm will apply Acura’s Aversion technology to formulations containing its opioid prodrugs in return for $3.5m (€3.2m) upfront.
The technology uses a combination of active and inactive pharmaceutical ingredients that induce irritation when the drug is nasally snorted, whilst the substance is converted into a viscous gel if users attempt to dissolve the tablet for an intravenous formulation.
The initial focus will be KP201/IR – a version of hydrocodone being developed for pain relief – however, under the agreement Kempharm can apply the technology to three products.
The firm also has the option to use Acura’s Aversion technology on additional product candidates in return for an addition $1m per candidate.
Kempharm – which will be responsible for all development and manufacturing activities – has agreed to pay royalties on any products using the Aversion technology.
Kempharm’s development strategy is to create prodrug versions of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved products by attaching ligands to the original molecules. Attaching ligands can improve the original drug’s manufacturability while maintain efficacy.
After administration the ligands are removed from the prodrugs, thereby allowing them to exert their therapeutic effects.