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QCOR to Start Pilot Effort for Acthar

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Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR) recently announced its plans to commence a pilot effort to commercialize H.P. Acthar Gel for the treatment of respiratory manifestations of symptomatic sarcoidosis, a rare autoimmune disorder.

This indication is a part of the FDA-approved package insert for Acthar. Questcor intends to hire and train 5-10 sales representatives this quarter focusing on pulmonologists treating this rare respiratory disorder.

The reps will start promoting the product for this indication from the fourth quarter of this year. Questcor is yet to decide whether a full-fledged sales force will be dedicated for this indication. This pilot effort will provide input regarding future commercialization plans for this indication. This pilot effort is similar to those made by Questcor for Acthar in fields such as neurology, nephrology and rheumatology.

Acthar, an injectable drug, is the lead product at Questcor. It is approved by the FDA for as many as 19 indications including nephrotic syndrome, dermatomyositis, polymyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis relapses and infantile spasms. Currently, Acthar is being studied for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and diabetic nephropathy.

The company shipped 4,830 vials of Acthar during the first quarter of 2013, up 17.5% year over year but down sequentially by 23.7%. In Apr 2013, Questcor made a record by shipping 2,550 vials of Acthar to its distributor in a single month. In the first quarter, Acthar’s new paid prescriptions were about 1,725 - 1,750, up 16% year over year.

Questcor carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, companies like Santarus, Inc. (SNTS), Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI) and Jazz Pharmaceuticals (JAZZ) look well positioned with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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