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Pernix to Market Osmotica's Khedezla

Zacks Equity Research

Pernix Therapeutics Holdings (PTX) recently announced that it has signed an agreement with the privately-held Osmotica Pharmaceuticals Corp. to market major depressive disorder (MDD) drug Khedezla.

As per the agreement, Pernix will market Khedzela Extended-Release (:ER) Tablets, 50 mg and 100 mg in the U.S. Pernix has appointed approximately 90 sales professionals to promote Khedezla to desvenlafaxine prescribing physicians. Pernix and Osmotica will share profits from the sales of the drug.

We note that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) has approved Khedezla for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in Jul 2013. The New Drug Application (:NDA) for Khedezla included data from comparative bioequivalence testing against Pfizer’s (PFE) Pristiq.

We remind investors that in early Mar 2013, Pernix completed the acquisition of Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, thereby adding insomnia drug Silenor to its portfolio.

Pernix expects Khedezla to represent significant promotional synergy with Silenor. The company expects to leverage its existing sale force to sell both the drugs side by side.

We note that last month Pernix appointed Doug Drysdale as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Pernix also announced that a group of institutional investors led by Athyrium Capital Management have agreed to purchase $65 million aggregate principal amount of 8.00% convertible senior notes due 2019 from the company.

The notes are convertible into shares of common stock of Pernix at an initial conversion price of $3.60 per share. The appointment of Drysdale was supported by the group of institutional investors led by Athyrium Capital Management.

Pernix expects to use the capital provided from the buyout of notes for strategic acquisitions along with working capital and general corporate purposes.

Pernix currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the same sector include Actavis, Inc. (ACT), and Impax Laboratories (IPXL).  Both carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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