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Pacira licenses Exparel for veterinary uses

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday that Aratana Therapeutics will develop a version of its surgical pain drug Exparel for use in veterinary procedures.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Exparel in October 2011 as a treatment for pain following surgery. Pacira said Aratana will study the drug as a treatment for use on animals, starting with pets. Pacira will receive $1 million upfront from Aratana, and it could get up to $42.5 million in milestone payments if Exparel progresses through clinical development and reaches commercial milestones in veterinary purposes.

The Parsippany, N.J., company said it will also get royalty payments of more than 10 percent on net sales.

Aratana Therapeutics, based in Kansas City, Kan., is privately held.

Shares of Pacira Pharmaceuticals lost 42 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $16.15 in midday trading.