UK-based Mundipharma International has acquired exclusive global rights to a family of patents for heroin substitution, including a morphine/naloxone combination from Phoenux.

In Europe about 1.4 million, or 0.41% of the adult population, are problem opioid users, and heroin is the most widely used opioid.

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Phoenux COO Kerstin Hammer said, "With Mundipharma, we have found the perfect partner with their experience of drug development in this area."

The company noted that people who are addicted to heroin often require long-term treatment and care, and over half of all illicit drug related deaths are thought to be due to opioid dependence.

Mundipharma Research Europe general manager Prof Dr Karen Reimer said the company has a strong understanding of the complex issues associated with opioid dependence and potential abuse.

"Mundipharma plans to invest in new studies to investigate and determine the role that these treatments could play in improving the lives of those living with heroin addiction," Reimer added.

The Mundipharma network of independent associated companies includes privately owned companies and joint ventures covering the pharmaceutical markets across the world and these companies are committed to providing patients with treatment options in the core therapy areas of oncology, pain, respiratory and rheumatoid arthritis.

Switzerland-based Phoenux mainly focuses on the development of new medications for the drug substitution market.

Image: Heroin addiction often requires long-term treatment and care. Photo courtesy of Victor Habbick at freedigitalphotos.net.