Avanir Announces PBA Data Publication

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Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AVNR) recently announced that the findings of the PRISM patient registry (n= 5290) were published in a journal.

The data from the registry provided further clarity on the prevalence and impact of pseudobulbar affect (PBA) in the U.S.

It was observed that PBA symptoms are quite prevalent among patients with diverse neurological conditions.

We note that Avanir’s Nuedexta is approved in the U.S. for the treatment of PBA. In Jun 2013, Avanir received approval for Nuedexta in the EU for the treatment of patients suffering from PBA.

The marketing application was based on controlled phase III studies of Nuedexta in patients with PBA, plus data from longer-term safety studies.

Nuedexta is also being studied for additional indications, namely agitation in Alzheimer's disease (phase II), neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis (phase II) and levodopa-induced-dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease (phase II).

We note that Avanir was in the news recently for its collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) for the co-promotion of Merck’s type II diabetes drug, Januvia and the sitagliptin family of products in the U.S.

As per the deal, Avanir is entitled to receive fixed as well as incentive-based payments. Avanir will promote the sitagliptin family of products in long-term care institutions from Oct 2013. Merck will also promote these products in all other settings. Merck is also responsible for all other aspects such as research, manufacturing and marketing of these products.

The deal is a major positive for Avanir. The collaboration provides Avanir with funds in the form of fixed as well as incentive payments. This deal not only brings Merck’s leadership in diabetes but also Avanir’s well established sales force in the institutional setting.

Avanir currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Jazz Pharmaceuticals Public Limited Company (JAZZ) and Shire (SHPG) look well positioned, each with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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