University of Kentucky pharmacy professor's firm receives $3 million grant

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $3 million to the start-up company of a University of Kentucky pharmacy professor to test and market a nasal spray that counteracts opioid overdoses.

AntiOp Inc., started by professor Dan Wermeling, will receive the money over three years to continue Wermeling's work with naloxone. The drug is currently used in an injectable form to reverse overdoses from heroin and prescription pain medicines.

"The nasal delivery system for naloxone has shown great progress, and this funding will help support AntiOp's efforts to create a delivery system that is easier to utilize for health care providers, friends and family members of those battling opioid addiction," said Wermeling, a faculty member in the department of pharmacy practice and science.

As part of the grant, UK will coordinate a clinical trial for the nasal spray.

AntiOp has an option to license the UK intellectual property related to the product and is seeking a partner to license and commercially market the product.

AntiOp also has received grant support from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Kentucky is one of several states that recently allowed third parties to obtain prescriptions for naloxone with the hope of reducing rising rates of opioid overdoses.