Finnish company Biotie Therapies develops new drug for alcohol dependency

Nalmefene helps to control and limit the intake of alcohol, creating new treatment approaches to alcoholism that do not require total abstinence.

The Finnish company Biotie Therapies, a specialized drug development company focused on central nervous system and inflammatory diseases, has developed the new drug nalmefene that may revolutionise the treatment of alcohol dependency. According to completed trials, nalmefene is safe and efficacious in helping individuals to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Biotie’s partner Lundbeck, a global leader in CNS drug development, is expecting to complete a further efficacy study in the second quarter of 2011. Biotie's patient dossier for nalmefene includes approximately 1,100 patients and will expand to approximately 3,000 patients when all three Phase III studies being conducted by Lundbeck have been completed.

The new drug could be on the market in 2012 at the earliest. Lundbeck has forecast that sales of nalmefene could amount to EUR 330 million a year. An estimated 23 million people in Europe suffer from alcohol dependency and alcohol is ranked as the third most common public health risk.

According to Biotie’s CEO Timo Veromaa, nalmefene could transform the treatment of alcohol dependence by providing patients with a real alternative to current abstinence-based therapies. “Helping patients to reduce harmful levels of alcohol consumption is an important clinical goal and we believe the unique ‘as needed’ approach with nalmefene - which aims to put the patient back in control of their disease - could create a paradigm shift in the management of alcohol dependence, ” he says. Conventional methods of treating alcohol addiction that require abstinence from drinking often result in a high relapse rate.

Source: Biotie Therapies