Pharmacy Faculty Member's Start-Up Gets NIH Grant

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2013) — AntiOp, Inc., a start-up company launched by University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy faculty member Dan Wermeling, received a three-year, $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to support the development of a needle-less delivery system for opioid overdose treatment.


The grant, which is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will support Wermeling’s promising work in developing a naloxone nasal spray. In its injectable form, naloxone is used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose, which often occurs in those abusing heroin or prescription pain medication.

“I am very thankful to receive this federal funding,” said Wermeling, a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science and an alumnus of the college. “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.”

As part of the grant, UK will coordinate the clinical trial for this naloxone formulation/delivery system. Faculty from the UK College of Pharmacy will analyze the naloxone nasal spray biopharmaceutics. Faculty from the UK College of Medicine’s Otolaryngology Department will study the impact on the nasal cavity.

“The peer-review vetting and awarding of federal support of this project provides further validation of the outstanding translational research being conducted by Dr. Wermeling and his collaborators at the University of Kentucky and by his company, AntiOp,” said Linda Dwoskin, associate dean for research for the UK College of Pharmacy. “Dr. Wermeling’s passion to bring naloxone nasal spray to patients who need it is inspiring, and we certainly applaud him for receiving this critical federal funding to support this endeavor.”

AntiOp is a “virtual” small pharmaceutical company with the sole purpose of developing the naloxone nasal spray with the goal of reducing national mortality from opioid overdoses, whether from licit or illicit usage. Wermeling supervises a team of scientific and regulatory experts at UK and from around the country to develop the product, manages the regulatory strategy, and is preparing for commercial manufacturing. AntiOp has an option to license the UK intellectual property on this product, and is currently seeking a partner to license and commercially market the product. 

In addition to this funding, AntiOp has received grant support from the Kentucky SBIR/STTR Matching Funds Program. The program is funded by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and Office of Commercialization and Innovation to support and incubate high-tech entrepreneurship in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.