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Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. provided an update on its portfolio at a Credit Suisse Healthcare conference.

Acthar, an injectable drug generated sales of $227.3 million in the third quarter of 2013. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for as many as 19 indications. Strong performance of Acthar in the nephrotic syndrome (NS), systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses and infantile spasms (IS) indications contributed to the substantial growth. 

Acthar is considered as the standard treatment for IS in children. As per Questcor, more than 100,000 MS relapses occur per year. According to Questcor, rheumatology represents the greatest market opportunity for Acthar. Rheumatology-related indications on the Acthar label include dermatomyositis/ polymyositis, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Questcor has expanded the rheumatology sales force from 12 to 62.

Acthar is currently under evaluation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) (phase II), acute respiratory distress syndrome (phase II to begin shortly), diabetic nephropathy (phase II – enrolment expected to be completed in first half 2014), idiopathic membranous nephropathy (phase IV) and lupus (phase IV).

Questcor has acquired development and commercialization rights to Synacthen and Synacthen Depot from Novartis (NVS - Analyst Report) in Jun 2013. This has led to the expansion of Questcor’s presence in the markets of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

Questcor carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Questcor’s growth going forward will be driven by increasing investment in research and development, developing international markets for Synacthen and Acthar and development of new indications. Currently, companies like Santarus, Inc. and Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Buy).

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