Orange County Business Journal

Drug Maker Questcor Gets Bump on Acthar Prescriptions

Vita Reed Thursday, September 29, 2011

Anaheim-based drug maker Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s shares rose recently on news of more new prescriptions for its sole drug.

Questcor’s shares rose as high as 9% in Wednesday trading before closing up 6%.

The drug maker counted a recent market value of about $1.7 billion.

Questcor said Wednesday that it expected new paid prescriptions for Acthar in treating multiple sclerosis exacerbations to exceed 850 in the current quarter. Acthar costs $40,000 to $50,000 a prescription for that usage.

Questcor said the prescription number was up 13% from the second quarter and up 160% from a year ago.

Analyst Yale Jen of New York-based Maxim Group LLC told Investor’s Business Daily that the market responded because the increases beat preliminary prescription results that Questcor released on Sept. 10, which estimated only a 10% gain.

Acthar, Questcor’s only drug, is also used to treat a rare form of epilepsy called infantile spasms, besides multiple sclerosis flares and nephrotic syndrome, which is a kidney disease. Questcor also estimated that it would get 55 paid prescriptions in the current quarter for nephrotic syndrome at about $100,000 per prescription, up 22% from the second quarter.