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Drug firm Indivior plans to move primary listing to US in snub to London

<span>Indivior makes most of its revenue in the US, but the switch in its listing could prove a setback for its British business.</span><span>Photograph: Piotr Swat/Alamy</span>
Indivior makes most of its revenue in the US, but the switch in its listing could prove a setback for its British business.Photograph: Piotr Swat/Alamy

Indivior, which makes the opioid addiction treatments Suboxone and Sublocade, is sounding out shareholders over plans to move its primary share listing to the US this year in the latest blow to London’s standing as an international financial centre.

Mark Crossley, the Indivior chief executive, said: “We are excited to announce that we are initiating consultations with shareholders on potentially transitioning to a primary listing in the US in 2024 while maintaining a secondary listing in the UK.”

It is the latest in a number of delistings and high-profile flotation snubs to the London Stock Exchange, despite the UK government’s efforts to attract and retain companies in the country.

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Last week, the Anglo-German travel company Tui said it would ditch its share listing in London, after shareholders voted overwhelmingly for a sole listing in Frankfurt. The chief financial officer, Mathias Kiep, said there had been a shift in liquidity from London to Frankfurt.

The Cambridge-based chip designer Arm, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, opted to list on New York’s Nasdaq last year along with other tech companies, in a snub to Rishi Sunak’s government, which had tried to persuade the company to list in London.

Indivior makes most of its revenue in the US, but the switch in its listing could prove a setback for its British business, which has historically been the home of its pharmaceutical research.

Indivior reported 21% net revenue growth for 2023, driven by its Sublocade and Perseris drugs, and expanded its pipeline of potential treatments for substance use disorders. The company said on Thursday it made an adjusted operating profit of $269m (£213m) last year, up 27% from 2022.

Sublocade is an injected prescription medicine used in adults to treat addiction to opioid drugs alongside counselling, while Perseris is used to treat schizophrenia in adults.

Last year, Indivior, and its former parent company, the consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser, from which it was spun off in 2014, faced a lawsuit in London’s high court over allegedly false marketing of Suboxone, but the case was thrown out in December.

Wirral council in north-west England had hoped to bring a representative claim on behalf of hundreds of investors that alleged Indivior wanted to switch the market for Suboxone from tablets, just before they lost patent protection in the US, to a film that is put under the tongue and dissolves. Reckitt and Indivior deny the allegations.

Wirral council argued that when Indivior was indicted in the US in 2019, in one of several corporate prosecutions related to that country’s opioid crisis, the news wiped out more than £550m of its market value. But in a high court ruling, the judge Michael Green said that Wirral could not act as a representative and the claims should be struck out.

The US justice department in 2019 charged Indivior with fraudulently claiming Suboxone film was better and safer than similar drugs.

Reckitt agreed to pay a $1.4bn fine to settle the case in July 2019, without any admission of wrongdoing, while Indivior said in 2020 that it had “pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement relating to healthcare matters in 2012” and that it would “make payments to federal and state authorities totalling $600m over a period of seven years”.

Shaun Thaxter, the former Indivior chief executive, was sentenced to six months in federal prison in 2020 after pleading guilty to his role in a scheme to secure Medicaid coverage for Suboxone film by misleading officials about its dangers to children.

Thaxter was replaced by Crossley, the former chief financial and operations officer, who has worked at the company since 2017.