Irish pharma behind overdose rescue drug doubles profits

Adapt Pharma recorded 126% revenue rise due to success of Narcan nasal spray

Narcan nasal spray is used to treat opioid overdoses. Photograph: Betancur/AFP/Getty

Narcan nasal spray is used to treat opioid overdoses. Photograph: Betancur/AFP/Getty


Pretax profits at Dublin-based Adapt Pharma more than doubled last year to $40.7 million (€36.8 million). Revenues at Adapt Pharma Operations Ltd increased 126 per cent to $134.9 million.

The soaring revenues at the company is based on the company’s overdose rescue drug, Narcan nasal spray, which is being used in the battle in the ongoing opioid crisis in the US.

Last year US group Emergent Biosolutions bought Adapt for $635 million, delivering a pay day for that amount for six Irish businessmen, including Waterford entrepreneur Seamus Mulligan.

Mr Mulligan, a pharma industry veteran, and his team invested €115 million to set up Adapt Pharma, and Mr Mulligan stood to gain $550 million from the deal, which includes a further $100 million being paid by the US buyer provided that certain milestones are reached.

In 2014 the firm acquired the worldwide development and commercialisation rights for the nasal spray product Nazalone. It was fast-tracked by the US regulator, the FDA, and came on the US market in early 2016 just as the US raised the profile on an escalating problem with opioid drugs, such as fentanyl.

Demi Lovato

Early last year, the drug came under the spotlight after it reportedly saved the life of singer Demi Lovato after an overdose at her Hollywood home.

The company last year recorded a gross profit of $68.2 million, and selling and administrative expenses of $17.9 million, along with development expenses of $9.5 million. This resulted in the company recording an operating profit of $40.7 million.

It employed an average of 17 people – an increase of four on 2017 – and staff costs for the 17, including two executive directors, last year more than tripled from $3.4 million to $10.66 million.

The sharp rise in pay arose mainly from “other compensation” of $4.5 million that did not occur in 2017.

Directors’ pay last year increased from $641,000 to $1.09 million. The company’s profits last year take account of non-cash amortisation and depreciation of $6.43 million.

The accounts disclose that in July this year, Adapt terminated a 10-year lease agreement signed with Mr Mulligan for a property at Fitzwilliam Square and paid Mr Mulligan $194,000 to exit the agreement.