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Acura Pharma shares rise after generic drug deal

The Associated Press

Shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped Thursday, a day after the drug developer said it reached a settlement with two generic drugmakers over future sales of new versions of Pfizer Inc.'s painkiller Oxecta.

THE SPARK: Acura, based in Palatine, Ill., said Par Pharmaceuticals will be able to launch a generic form of Oxecta in the United States in 2022, or possibly sooner under certain circumstances. But Par will have to pay Acura royalties of between 10 percent and 15 percent of the net profits from the generic.

Par will have six months of marketing exclusivity for its generic. Then another rival, Impax Laboratories, can launch its version, subject to regulatory approval.

THE BACKGROUND: Patents protecting Oxecta are slated to expire in 2023 and 2025, so the agreements let the generic drugmakers launch their products ahead of that, but still give Acura years of protection from the cheaper competition.

Oxecta is an immediate-release drug that contains oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin.

The patents protect Acura's Aversion technology, which is used in Oxecta to discourage abuse. If the drug is exposed to water or alcohol, the oxycodone becomes trapped in a gel mixture, making it difficult to get into a needle. If inhaled, it creates a burning, irritating sensation in the nose.

Acura receives a portion of sales from Oxecta, and Acura CEO Bob Jones said Pfizer signed off on the patent agreements, which were negotiated by Acura. New York-based Pfizer is the world's second-largest drugmaker.

Acura still faces patent litigation from two other generic drugmakers, Sandoz and Ranbaxy. Those cases are pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

SHARE ACTION: Up 25 cents, or nearly 15 percent, to $1.94 in Thursday midday trading, while the Nasdaq exchange climbed 1.6 percent. Acura shares have traded between $1.06 and $4.50 over the past year.