A Heron Therapeutics postoperative pain anesthetic billed as an opioid alternative achieved positive late-stage trial results, boosting the San Diego company’s stock.
Heron’s stock hovered at nearly $28 late morning on March 19 following the announcement, after ending the day at $21.58 on March 16.
The company — among the San Diego biotechs rushing to market with alternatives to opioids — reported its drug lessened pain and decreased opioid use 72 hours after surgery in two phase 3 trials, hitting all primary and key secondary endpoints.
Notably, hernia surgery patients who received the anesthetic, HTX-011, experienced a 23 percent reduction in pain intensity compared to a placebo, and a 21 percent decline versus the anesthetic Bupivacaine.
The HTX-011 group also took 38 percent less opioids than the placebo group and 25 percent less than the bupivacaine group during the 72 hours following surgery.
Eighty percent of patients undergoing surgery are prescribed opioids to help manage post-operative pain, a potential gateway to opioid addiction, and leading to leftover pills accessible to others in the home.
The company intends to file a new drug application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in second half of 2018.
“If approved, we believe that HTX-011 could have a significant impact on the opioid crisis by reducing the use of opioids after surgery, while at the same time allowing patients to experience less pain," said Heron CEO Barry Quart, in a news release.