Addiction is a powerful disorder that affects over 23 million people in the U.S.1 and costs an estimated $700 billion each year2.
In this first part of a 3-part interview with Brady Granier, president and Chief Executive Officer, Director at BioCorRx, Inc, Anaheim, California, we discuss what made him leave his 11-year career with a major media company for BioCorRx, and the use of 3 FDA-approved medications to treat alcohol and opioid addiction.
KLARA CZOBOR: Can you please provide us with a brief background about yourself and how you came to be the CEO of BioCorRx.
BRADY GRANIER: Okay. I am a trained registered nurse and I worked as a registered nurse (RN) a long time ago. I left the nursing industry about 16-17 years ago and went into media sales and business in general. I completely left healthcare and eventually became Director of Business Development for Clear Channel, which is iHeart Media today. I was also the Healthcare Category Manager for the company because of my healthcare background, which meant that I would usually be involved in helping sales reps develop and sell campaigns to businesses in that category
While in that capacity, I came across this little clinic in Santa Ana, California back in 2010, that was treating alcoholics with this naltrexone implant that had come from Australia. They were doing fantastic work helping a lot of people and I had never seen anything like it at the time.
I had never heard of naltrexone when I was an RN in the emergency room and we saw many people suffering from addiction. So, I became fascinated by it and did a lot of research on that medication and learned its history and the reasons why I had never heard of it before when I was in the medical field. I became more and more intrigued with it, and ended up helping this small company by investing in it because I believed in what they were doing. I met a lot of patients that had gone through the program and it was their “miracle.”
So, I got “sucked into it” that way and, to cut a long story short, I got to know the founders and eventually in 2013, they asked me to come on as the COO of the company. After much contemplation, I left my 11-year career with this big media company to go to this small company that was just trying to get going.
I became COO first and then a few years later, I became CEO and President. Over the last two years or so, myself and the CFO have spent a lot of time revamping the company. We restructured the business model, renamed the company, built more products and programs around what the company was doing in the naltrexone space, and here we are today.
We have developed a very comprehensive outpatient program around the use of a naltrexone implant that patients receive along with a proprietary cognitive behavioral therapy program and peer support that coaches or supports patients for about a year while collecting a lot of data.
We’re also developing another product. We have a product that’s in R&D right now which is an injectable form of naltrexone. We are still in the process of developing it and we’re meeting with the FDA in September of this year for a pre-IND meeting.
Our company is focused around the addiction treatment space with different products and services. We are not just about pharmaceuticals, as we focus heavily on the behavioral side. We really believe in the whole process of treating that individual.
KLARA CZOBOR: Sure, that’s very interesting. And could you please address and discuss the current addiction epidemic here in the United States and outline its impact on healthcare spending?
BRADY GRANIER: Well, unless “you’re living under a rock”, you can see news about the opioid crisis in headlines every day. The epidemic has surpassed every other leading cause of accidental death in the United States. It’s decimating communities, especially in some of these small towns in West Virginia and Ohio. They’re just getting obliterated by this epidemic. It’s not getting any easier or better. It’s a huge, huge problem.
There are a lot of ways to combat it however. Unfortunately, most media time is spent talking about the problem and how big it is, but not focusing as much on some of the treatments that are out there that are actually very effective. That’s the frustrating part of all of this. There are some effective treatments out there, but they’re not getting the attention that they deserve.
KLARA CZOBOR: Sure. And just as a follow-up, why do you think the media isn’t focused on the treatments that are out there for this? Do you think that they are just not aware?
BRADY GRANIER: It’s part lack of awareness, but perhaps the media doesn’t find it as dramatic to talk about treatment as it is to talk about the magnitude of the problem and the reasons for the problem. The media tends to prefer talking about villains over heroes. But in all fairness, it takes time to talk about the treatment options in detail and media tends to work in sound-bites and in four-minute interviews at best. I do a lot of interviews and there is never enough time to really get into all the things that can be done in terms of the protocols that are available now out there. It takes time to really educate those afflicted and their parents and spouses.
So, there needs to be more awareness out there and more time available to talk about the options. We do the best we can to get the word out there ourselves.
KLARA CZOBOR: Yes. So, what are the traditional approaches to alcohol and opioid addiction and how are they failing to address the needs of patients with substance abuse addiction?
BRADY GRANIER: Well, those are two different diseases to treat. Alcohol use disorder is actually a bigger problem than opioid use disorder. Abuse of alcohol, which includes binge drinking, costs over $200 billion dollars annually in lost productivity, strain on the healthcare system, etc.
There are different ways to address alcohol use disorder. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has been around for decades, but that’s more about recovery than it is treatment. Now, you have more and more new medications available. They’ve been around for a while, but the use of medications to treat addiction is becoming more and more mainstream. When it comes to alcohol treatment, the main medication you hear about is naltrexone. There is another one called Antabuse (disulfiram) that makes people sick when they drink, but I believe naltrexone is better for treatment. I’ve seen amazing results with the use of naltrexone for treating alcoholism, especially in the implant form.
Then when it comes to opioid addiction, naltrexone works for this disorder as well. But buprenorphine and methadone are also used to treat opioid use disorder. All of these medications fall under the umbrella of MAT (Medication-assisted Treatment). That’s the terminology in the industry. It’s the use of medications in combination with therapy. So, it’s this combination approach that’s starting to get more and more traction.
So, the big three are naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone. However, naltrexone is the only one that’s used for alcoholism and opioid addition, and is also non-addictive. There is no street value to it unlike buprenorphine and methadone. When it comes to buprenorphine, people may be more familiar with Suboxone®, which is a brand name of a buprenorphine and naloxone combined product on the market. Those medications have their utilities in certain patient populations, of course, but they’re synthetic opioids in themselves. So ideally, we feel that if someone is on that sort of therapy, there should be a care plan put in place to eventually wean them off once they’ve gotten their life a little bit back together.
But again, you can’t really have a “broad-stroke approach” to this. Every person’s problem is different. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why it comes down to the patient and doctor and what they feel is the best care plan for that individual in that situation. There are some instances where someone can go straight on to naltrexone therapy and completely bypass buprenorphine or methadone. Then there are some instances where they absolutely need to have those to stabilize their life.
So again, it’s different depending on the situation. Addiction is a spectrum disorder. In other words, it can vary person to person. Just like diabetes, for example. If you have two people with diabetes, you’re not going to treat them both identically. Their situations are different. Some people need insulin and some people don’t need insulin. That’s how we must view the treatment of addiction.
In Part 2 we talk with Brady Granier about the goals of BioCorRx and the potential benefits of BICX101, a new long-lasting injectable naltrexone technology.
And in Part 3 we discuss B2-NTX, a new protocol specifically designed for battling opioid use disorder. Check it out!
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Public Policy Statement on Treatment for Alcohol and Other Drug Addiction, Adopted: May 01, 1980, Revised: January 01, 2010