Indivior shares surge after drugs firm bumps sales forecasts higher

Shares in Indivior have surged after the drugs giant raised its revenue and profit guidance for the year, following a better-than-expected first-half performance.

The London-based pharmaceutical firm said unexpectedly strong sales of Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction, buoyed its revenues.

Indivior said it now expects 2019 revenues to be significantly higher, upping its estimate to between 670 million and 720 million US dollars (£534 million to £574 million) from previous forecasts of 525 million to 575 million US dollars (£418 million to £458 million).

It also pushed up net income forecasts to between 80 and 130 million US dollars (£63 million to £103 million) from its previous estimate, which ranged from a 40 million US dollar (£31 million) loss to 10 million US dollar (£8 million) profit.

Chief executive Shaun Thaxter said: “We are raising our full-year 2019 guidance after a stronger-than-expected first half, in which the group executed well against its strategic priorities.”

The “market share outperformance” of Suboxone drove the improvement in forecasts for the year, Indivior said.

The drug had been expected to rapidly lose market share after a court case defeat last year meant that unbranded competitors could enter the market, but its sales were “more resilient” than expected.

The announcement came as Indivior’s former owner, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), agreed to pay more than £1 billion to resolve an investigation into how Suboxone was marketed.

RB said it will pay up to 1.4 billion US dollars (£1.1 billion) as part of an agreement with the US Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to resolve the issue.

Analysts at Jefferies said: “While we expect this indicates a potential high-water mark for Indivior, the cases are independent and Indivior is preparing to go to trial with the Department of Justice and any potential update is not expected near-term.

“The magnitude of the RB settlement is likely to be a focus, and in our view Indivior would be unlikely to afford this amount.”

Shares in the company were up by 27.3% at 56.4p in early trading on Thursday.