Questcor reports record vial shipments of Acthar in fourth quarter 2011

In preparation for meetings starting Monday, January 9  with investors and an investor presentation scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Thursday, January 12 at the J. P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR) today announced the following preliminary operating metrics for the fourth quarter 2011:

      -Approximately 935-950 paid H.P. Acthar® Gel (Acthar) prescriptions for the treatment of multiple sclerosis exacerbations (MS) during the quarter, up approximately 165% from the year ago quarter ended December 31, 2010

      -Approximately 140-150 paid Acthar prescriptions for the treatment of nephrotic syndrome during the quarter, up approximately 145% sequentially from the third quarter of 2011

      -Approximately 120-125 paid Acthar prescriptions for the treatment of infantile spasms (IS) during the quarter, representing a new high for any quarter since Questcor formed its reimbursement support center and began tracking Acthar prescriptions in August 2007

      -3,360 shipped vials of Acthar, up 100% from the quarter ended December 31, 2010.  

 "Paid prescriptions for all three of our principal therapeutic areas--multiple sclerosis, nephrotic syndrome and infantile spasms--reached new levels in the fourth quarter. These record levels of prescriptions, in combination with vial demand from prior quarter nephrotic syndrome prescriptions, led to record vial shipments and should lead to solid financial results for the quarter," said Don M. Bailey, President and CEO of Questcor Pharmaceuticals. 

"During the past year, our increased investment in the expansion of our selling effort resulted in both increased awareness of the therapeutic benefits of Acthar within the medical community and strong returns for Questcor's shareholders," noted Steve Cartt, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Officer. "We currently intend to approximately double the number of nephrology representatives by the spring of 2012 and modestly expand the number of neurology representatives during the summer.  We are also exploring the possibility of initiating a small pilot selling effort in rheumatology in the fall."

"Our Phase IV clinical trial studying the use of Acthar in treatment-resistant membranous nephropathy is underway, with the first patients having recently been enrolled," commented Dr. David Young, Chief Scientific Officer. "In addition, the FDA, through the review of our IND, has recently agreed with our Phase IIa study design to evaluate the use of Acthar in diabetic nephropathy.  Questcor's R&D group is also exploring potential new studies to generate scientific data related to the use of Acthar in treating additional autoimmune conditions, with particular focus on those that are already on the FDA approved Acthar label such as systemic lupus erythematosus.  Overall, we are becoming increasingly intrigued with the possible range of therapeutic applications and commercial potential for Acthar as an immunomodulating drug."

Operating expenses for the fourth quarter are estimated to be in the range of 20-30% higher than the third quarter of 2011, reflecting the Company's increased investment in sales and marketing and R&D activities for Acthar.

As of January 4, 2012, Questcor's cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $209 million. The Company did not repurchase any shares during the fourth quarter.  As of December 31, 2011, Questcor had 63.6 million shares of common stock outstanding, with 4.3 million shares remaining under its common stock repurchase program.

The operating metrics and financial information in this release are preliminary and subject to change.  Questcor currently expects to release audited results for the fourth quarter and full year on February 22, 2012.


Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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