November 1, 2018 / 11:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Cost cuts help drugmaker Indivior as it battles cheap rival

* Hit from Dr.Reddy’s copycat to be lower than forecast

* Indivior says on track to meet FY targets

* Sublocade’s prescription journey falls to 16-22 days

* Shares give back early gains to trade lower (Adds details on the company’s drugs, background, comments)

By Shashwat Awasthi and Noor Zainab Hussain

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Embattled drugmaker Indivior said on Thursday the hit to revenue this year from a cheap copy of its top-selling opium addiction drug would be less than feared, as cost cutting helped it to deliver a 22 percent rise in quarterly profit.

However, shares in the UK-listed company gave back early gains as it stuck to recently lowered full-year financial goals.

Indivior has been battling the introduction of a cheaper generic version of its film-based opioid addiction treatment Suboxone, and has also faced distribution challenges with its new injectable opioid addiction drug, Sublocade.

The company, spun-off from consumer products group Reckitt Benckiser in 2014, said the revenue hit this year from the generic Suboxone launched by India’s Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd was now expected to be $12-18 million.

That is less than its previous warning the impact “could be materially higher” than $25 million.

Indivior also said anecdotal feedback from patients and healthcare providers on Sublocade was very encouraging, and reiterated its confidence in reaching its peak net revenue target of more than $1 billion from the drug.

The company also managed to reduce Sublocade’s prescription journey - the time from prescription to injection - to 16-22 days as at Sept. 30 from 27-37 days at June 30.

It had previously warned the prescription journey was being held back by more than 30 paper-driven steps before doctors can manually administer the injection.

Third-quarter adjusted net income rose to $58 million, ahead of analysts’ average forecast of $49 million, according to Jefferies. Revenue came in at $245 million, down 11 percent from a year earlier, but ahead of the average forecast by 3 percent.

After rising sharply in early trading, shares in the U.S.-headquartered company were down 3.9 percent to 180.95 pence at 1405 GMT. The stock has more than halved in value this year.

One stock exchange market maker said that while there had been no outright bad news in the results, the bearish mood around the company had not yet abated.

Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi/Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Mark Potter

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