Titan tests implant tech to curb opioid overdose

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Opioid

Titan has teamed with Opiant to investigate skin implant technology in the administration of opioid antagonists over extended periods, to combat opioid relapse and overdose in outpatients.

Under the agreement, the firms will assess Titan Pharmaceuticals’ sustained release, subcutaneous implant ProNeura, for the delivery of antagonists designed to target, and block, opioid receptors.

According to Titan spokesperson Susan Thomas, ProNeura – a ‘solid matrix’ designed to be inserted by a healthcare professional, in the inner part of the upper arm – ensures a controlled rate of drug delivery.

“ProNeura consists of a small, solid rod made from a mixture of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and a drug substance that is dispersed throughout the implant,” ​Thomas told us.

“The drug substance in ProNeura is uniformly distributed throughout the ethylene vinyl acetate co-polymer (EVA) matrix and is delivered through the process of dissolution into the surrounding body tissues, ensuring a controlled rate of drug delivery and virtually 100% bioavailability,” ​she said.

Thomas also said ProNeura’s design eliminates the risk of premature and exaggerated drug release.

“The technology has no reservoir, and therefore there is no risk of drug dumping,” ​she said.

Increased antagonist need

According to Opiant Pharmaceuticals’ CEO Roger Crystal, there is demand for antagonists to treat patients with opioid use disorder.

“Currently, the only FDA-approved opioid antagonist for relapse prevention is a monthly depot injection of naltrexone,” ​he said.

According to Crystal, a product administered over an extended period could allow patients to be opioid-free for longer, and consequently help prevent relapse and overdose.

“This six-month duration would mean that patients only have to make one good decision to initiate therapy, which is important because the longer patients receive pharmacological treatment, the less likely they are to relapse and possible overdose,” ​said Crystal.


While Thomas said it was too early to comment on cost, she told us FDA-approved ProNeura Probuphine (buprenorphine) implant, developed by Titan as a six-month maintenance treatment for opioid treatment, is priced at $4,950 for six months.

Titan is simultaneously investigating the use of implants to treat hypothyroidism, malaria prophylaxis, chronic pain and type 2 diabetes.

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