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Acura Pharma Ends Agreement with Pfizer

Zacks Equity Research

Acura Pharmaceuticals (ACUR) entered into a letter agreement with Pfizer Inc. (PFE) in connection with its license agreement for Oxecta.

Oxecta is the first approved and marketed product utilizing Acura's proprietary Aversion technology. Acura licensed its Aversion technology to Pfizer for use in Oxecta in the U.S. and Mexico.

As per the agreement, Acura terminated its license, development and commercialization agreement which dates back to Oct 30, 2007. The agreement was entered with King Pharmaceuticals Research & Development which is now a subsidiary of Pfizer.

Acura has now regained all rights to the products licensed to Pfizer under the license agreement.

We remind investors that Acura had entered into another letter agreement with Pfizer in Sep 2012, whereby the latter returned to the former all the products licensed to it under the original license agreement except for Oxecta.

Under the terms of the new letter agreement, Acura's license grant to Pfizer for the Aversion technology has also been terminated and Acura now owns all rights to Oxecta tablets.

We note that Pfizer received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) approval in Jun 2011 for its New Drug Application (:NDA) for Oxecta.

Acura will make a one-time payment of $2.0 million to Pfizer in consideration of the termination of the license agreement.

On the other hand, Pfizer will transfer Acura all studies, data, regulatory filings (including the NDA) and other information relating to Oxecta.

We note that Acura’s pipeline is being developed using its proprietary Aversion and Impede technologies. Acura's another franchise, Nexafed was launched in Dec 2012. Nexafed uses the Impede technology that disrupts the conversion of pseudoephedrine into the dangerous methamphetamine.

However, Acura is heavily dependent on the successful commercialization of Oxecta for driving revenue growth. We believe that Acura might forge a partnership deal with any other pharmaceutical company for the successful commercialization of Oxecta. Hence, we expect investor focus to remain on updates on Oxecta.

Acura currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, companies that look well-positioned include Actavis, Inc. (ACT) and Mylan Inc. (MYL). Both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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