- Substance use disorder (SUD) has reached crisis proportions
- Deal links Quoin’s non-opioid analgesics to Skinvisible’s drug delivery system
- Market for opioids is currently about $6 billion annually
Opioids are killing Americans at an alarming rate. Every day ‘91 Americans die… from an opioid overdose’, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In response to the substance abuse epidemic sweeping the nation, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in December 2016. The legislation allocates over $1 billion to a variety of programs, some of which will attempt to wean patients away from addictive opium derivatives, a push unlikely to cause any degradation in pain management regimens. Non-opiates, in many instances, have proven to be just as effective for pain relief as oxycodone, hydrocodone or codeine, some widely used opioids. In October 2017, President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic. Now that opioid use has reached crisis levels, bringing benign alternatives to market could rescue thousands from the perils of addiction. Skinvisible, Inc. (OTCQB: SKVI) plans to do exactly that. It is teaming up with Quoin Pharmaceuticals, in a proposed merger, to provide pain management products that, unlike opioids, do not provide a cure that is worse than the disease.
The abuse of opioids and other substances continues globally to be a vexing public health issue. The number of people reporting a substance use disorder (SUD) is on the rise, a development attributed to illicit opioids like heroin and opium but also, more alarmingly, to prescription opioid pain relievers (OPRs). The effects have been devastating. In 2015, 33,091 Americans died due to an accidental or unintentional opioid-related overdose. OPR abuse is largely responsible for the increase in SUD fatalities. ‘Deaths from prescription opioids—drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone—have more than quadrupled since 1999’, according to one CDC study (http://dtn.fm/q4SKb). This fourfold increase is in line with the volume of OPRs dispensed: ‘The amount of prescription opioids sold to pharmacies, hospitals, and doctors’ offices nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2010’, a development that has been blamed on system failure (http://dtn.fm/3rDPp). There is, obviously, a pressing need for less pernicious painkillers. Luckily, there are indications that some non-opiates can be just as effective at reducing pain, as a recent study shows (http://dtn.fm/7JdGR).
Announcing the proposed merger with Quoin Pharmaceuticals Limited, Skinvisible provided an update on how it proposes to address this crisis (http://dtn.fm/P4Dtj). The proposed first lead product, QRX001, is a single use transdermal non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonist intended for the treatment of post-surgical pain. An NMDA receptor antagonist is a type of anesthetic that inhibits the action of the N-Methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR). Transdermal medicines are those applied to the surface of the skin that then penetrate into the blood stream. QRX001 is expected to provide up to 72 hours of effective analgesia post-surgically, eschewing the use of any opioid.
About half of those addicted were first introduced to opioids to combat pain after surgery. QRX001, when developed, may provide surgeons with a more effective alternative to opioids and to current opioid sparing products such as intravenous NSAIDs. The current market for opioids in the U.S. is estimated at $6 billion annually, and the highly differentiated nature of QRX001 could position it to capture significant market share either as a monotherapy or as part of multi-modal therapy. An application for Fast Track status for QRX001 will be filed.
The proposed merger with Quoin will allow Skinvisible to enter the post-surgical pain management market. The post-merger entity is expected to carry the name Quoin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and be listed on the OTCQB Venture Market.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Skinvisible.com
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