Challenging the popular but pricey EpiPen, San Diego’s Adamis Pharmaceuticals is readying its own emergency allergy medication for sale.

Called Symjepi, the product is a syringe of epinephrine, used to counteract life-threatening allergic reactions. It’s meant as a lower-cost alternative to market leader EpiPen, which costs hundreds of dollars.

Just how much less it will cost hasn’t been announced, nor has when the products will reach the market. The launch is being handled by marketing partner Sandoz, a subsidiary of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. The role of Adamis is to manufacture the product.

Adamis received approval for two Symjepi formulations. A low-dose form, for patients who weigh 33 to 66 pounds, was approved in September. A higher dose for those over 66 pounds was approved earlier.

Adamis, meanwhile, is working on other products. Those in the late stages of development include formulations of naloxone, which reverses opioid overdose, and beclomethasone, for asthma.

“We’re transitioning from a development company to actually getting some revenue coming in real soon here,” said Adamis spokesman Mark Flather.

Adamis plans to submit a marketing application for its naloxone product later this quarter, Flather said. It delivers the drug in its proprietary Symject syringe system, the same used for epinephrine.

The company is also developing other inhaled drugs, using a dry powder inhaler system it acquired from 3M Drug Delivery Systems.

For those at risk of a life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis, having epinephrine readily available can be life-saving. But EpiPen’s seller, Mylan, has been criticized for its prices — which can exceed $600 for a two-pack. When Mylan acquired rights to EpiPen in 2007, it sold for just $57 per dose.

Mylan says its prices are reasonable, and offers discount programs for those who can’t afford the full price.

Tribune News Service