More MS news articles for August 2001

Questcor Announces Acquisition of Marketed Product Used to Treat Neurological and Autoimmune Disorders; Company to Host Conference Call Today at 11:00 AM EST

July 31, 2001  6:01am
Source: Business Wire

UNION CITY, Calif., Jul 31, 2001 (BW HealthWire) -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (AMEX: QSC) has signed an agreement with Aventis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to acquire the worldwide rights to HPActhar(R) Gel.

HP Acthar(R) Gel is a corticotropin product that has been used, as part of a special program administered by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), to treat seriously ill children with a seizure complex, referred to as West syndrome or infantile spasm, a potentially fatal disorder, and patients with multiple sclerosis who experience severe and painful episodes of "flare". The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Due to limited production and the resulting limited availability of the product over the past few years, distribution has been tightly controlled through the NORD special access program. The product is now back in full production and, as a result, can return to normal distribution. Questcor believes that this increased production of HP Acthar(R) Gel will enable it to reintroduce the product into normal distribution channels later this fall. "We are exceptionally pleased that Questcor has become involved with this critically important product," said Abbey S. Meyers, President of NORD. "We look forward to working closely with Questcor to ensure that anyone with a need for HP Acthar(R) Gel is able to receive the product."

Questcor estimates that approximately 1,600 patients annually have been allowed access to HPActhar(R) Gel during the past four years of the limited access program. The Company believes the re-introduction of HP Acthar(R) Gel into normal distribution channels should open access to an additional 5,000 patients suffering from various autoimmune disorders who may be helped by the product. Questcor expects to begin its first shipments of HP Acthar(R) Gel to wholesalers sometime in September. The most current update on product availability can be found at HTTP://WWW.ACTHAR.COM.

"The acquisition of HP Acthar(R) Gel represents a significant opportunity for Questcor to extend our presence in the hospital market into the field of neurology, and specifically to the pediatric neurologist," commented Charles J. Casamento, Chairman, President & CEO of Questcor. "The commercial impact from revenues and profits of HP Acthar(R) Gel should allow us to accelerate the clinical development of other promising agents in our pipeline, while at the same time bringing the Company a step closer to breakeven. This should increase our sales to a level that is up dramatically from 2000 levels when our product sales were less than $2 million."

The Company will have additional experience with the pediatric neurology market through the development of its pediatric neurology product, Ceresine(TM), which it believes may eventually treat Congenital Lactic Acidosis.

Questcor will be hosting a conference call on Tuesday July 31, 2001, at 11:00 a.m., Eastern Time (8:00 a.m. Pacific Time). Please call this number to participate: 800-388 8975 (domestic) 973 694 2225 (international).

Participants are asked to call the above number 5-10 minutes prior to the starting time.

Charles J. Casamento, Chairman, President & CEO will host the call to further discuss the acquisition and entertain investor questions. The conference call we be broadcast live over the Internet at Questcor's website, WWW.QUESTCOR.COM. The call will be archived and available on the website for a limited time.

A telephonic replay of this call will be available from 1:00 p.m., EST Tuesday, July 31st through 4:00 p.m., EST Tuesday August 3rd. Please call 800 428 6051 (domestic) 973 709 2089 (international) and use access number 204395.

About Questcor

Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a fully integrated specialty pharmaceutical company that serves the needs of the acute care and critical care hospital market with its proprietary products including Glofil(TM)-125 and Inulin for measuring renal GFR, Ethamolin(R)for sclerotherapy, and Pramidin(R)for diabetic gastroparesis. Questcor's late stage pipeline products are being developed to treat diabetic gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), delayed onset emesis (vomiting), congenital lactic acidosis (CLA), and various central nervous system disorders. As part of a strategy to develop its products globally, Questcor has entered into over 20 contractual relationships with public and private companies including: Ahn-Gook Pharmaceuticals, of Korea; CSC Pharmaceuticals Handels GmbH of Vienna, Austria; Crinos Group of Como, Italy; Dainippon Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., of Osaka, Japan; Rigel, Inc. of South San Francisco, CA; and Tularik, Inc. of South San Francisco, CA.

Note: Except for the historical information contained herein, this press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements are subject to certain factors, which may cause the Company's results to differ. Factors that may cause such differences include, but are not limited to, the Company's need for additional funding, uncertainties regarding the Company's intellectual property and other research, development, marketing and regulatory risks, and, to the ability of the Company to implement its strategy and acquire products and, if acquired, to market them successfully as well as the risks discussed in Questcor's report on Form 10-K/A for the calendar year ended December 31, 2000 and other documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The risk factors and other information contained in these documents should be considered in evaluating Questcor's prospects and future financial performance.

CONTACT:    Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
                  Charles J. Casamento, 510/400-0700
                  The Investor Relations Group
                  Investors and Media:
                  Shayne Payne / Dian Griesel, 212/825-3210

Copyright (C) 2001 Business Wire.