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Indivior shares drop for second day as hopes for next blockbuster drug dim

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Indivior shares drop for second day as hopes for next blockbuster drug dim

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By Justin George Varghese

(Reuters) - Shares of Indivior fell for a second straight day, as prospects for the British drugmaker's new potential blockbuster drug waned, months after revealing that its former market-leading opioid addiction drug lost market share to a generic rival.

The company sharply lowered guidance for its recently-launched once-monthly injection Sublocade on Wednesday, citing further delays in getting the drug to patients, while also announcing a new set of lower full-year expectations for total revenue and earnings.

Shares, which have almost halved in value this year, fell 7 percent on Thursday, a day after shares slumped 16 percent right after the company announcement.

In July, Indivior scrapped its full-year guidance after saying it lost market share to a cheaper alternative to its blockbuster film-based drug Suboxone, launched by India's Dr. Reddy's Pharmaceuticals <REDY.NS>.

The company, which had hoped that sales from Sublocade would offset the drop in sales of Suboxone, said on Wednesday that its forecast of achieving $25 million (£19 million) to $50 million in Sublocade revenue this year would not be met as it "significantly underestimated" problems related to the new drug launch. It now expects 2018 Sublocade revenue in the range of $8 million to $10 million.

Analysts at Jefferies slashed its long term earnings per share guidance by over 50 percent, and price target by over 50 percent to 250 pence, saying "delayed Sublocade ramp-up significantly impacts a largely fixed cost base despite cost savings."

In July, the company flagged "some friction" in the distribution and reimbursement model for Sublocade, which made doctors less willing to prescribe the new drug.

"In the near-term, we acknowledge that with respect to Sublocade we have substantially underestimated the lag time associated with the approval of medical benefit coverage of individual patients," the company said on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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