BioDelivery Sciences tripled its third-quarter revenue and said it expects its 2-year-old opioid addiction patch to become profitable by the end of next year.
The Raleigh drug company reported Wednesday that third-quarter revenue was nearly $3.6 million, compared to $1.2 million a year ago. The company’s net loss for the quarter narrowed to $16 million from a loss of $20.4 million in the third quarter of 2015.
BioDelivery, founded in 2002, is primarily focused on boosting sales and market share of its Bunavail patch, applied to the inside of the cheek, to treat opioid addiction. Bunavail accounted for $2 million in third quarter sales, down from $2.1 in the second quarter but up from $1.2 million in the third quarter of last year.
The third quarter is also the first full quarter in which BioDelivery converted its contract sales force into full-time employees. The company now employs about 75 people, up from about 30 a year ago.
The patch, which melts inside the mouth within 15 seconds, has less than 2 percent market share compared to an estimated 85 percent market share of the leading product, Suboxone, a pill placed under the tongue. BioDelivery CEO Mark Sirgo characterized the gap as a “huge disparity,” but added, “therein lies the opportunity.”
The company announced six new managed care contracts in the third quarter, three of which start providing health insurance coverage for Bunavail in January. BioDelivery is seeking to expand insurance coverage and to increase the number of doctors who prescribe the product.
BioDelivery also said it has additional sales opportunity resulting from the August effective date of a decision by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, increasing the number of patients a doctor can treat with buprenorphine from 100 to 275.
Buprenorphine, prescribed to reduce opioid dependence, is one of the ingredients of Bunavail and of Suboxone.
BioDelivery’s Bunavail sales are equivalent to 2,300 prescriptions weekly, and the company needs to boost that to 4,300 prescriptions weekly to achieve profitability, Sirgo said. A typical prescription is used daily for 14 days, 28 days or one month.
BioDelivery has two other products on the market – Belbuca for chronic pain and Onsolis for cancer pain – but the company’s revenues on these products come from royalty payments from corporate partners licensed to sell the medications.