ANAHEIM, Calif., June 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR) today announced it has acquired rights to develop Synacthen ® and Synacthen Depot in the U.S. from Novartis Pharma AG and Novartis AG. Subject to certain closing conditions, Questcor has also acquired rights to Synacthen ® and Synacthen Depot ® in certain countries outside the U.S. Available in more than forty countries for multiple indications, Synacthen (tetracosactide) is a synthetic 24 amino acid melanocortin receptor agonist. Synacthen Depot is a depot formulation of Synacthen. The products are approved outside the U.S. for certain autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, but have never been developed or approved for patients in the U.S.
"As an emerging leader in melanocortin research, we now have the opportunity with Synacthen to expand and accelerate our product development activities. We believe such efforts will enhance our expanding R&D program," said Don M. Bailey, President and CEO of Questcor. "In addition, this key acquisition provides an opportunity to initiate our presence in more than three dozen international markets, giving us an opportunity to reinvigorate Synacthen in these markets and providing us a platform for potential international growth."
"This transaction leverages our rapidly growing understanding of the different characteristics and biological activity of melanocortin receptor agonists such as Synacthen, a synthetic ACTH-related agonist, and naturally derived Acthar, as well as the potential use of melanocortin receptor agonists in the treatment of serious and difficult-to-treat autoimmune and inflammatory disorders," said David Young, Pharm.D., Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer of Questcor. "We intend to develop and seek FDA approval for Synacthen and are committed to developing this product not only in conditions different than Acthar but also in conditions where Synacthen would potentially provide a clinical benefit over Acthar."
Under the terms of the transaction agreements, Questcor has paid Novartis an upfront consideration of $60.0 million. Questcor will make additional payments of at least $75.0 million in the aggregate over the next several years, as well as potential milestone payments prior to FDA approval. Upon FDA approval of Synacthen in the U.S., Questcor will pay Novartis another milestone and royalties based on net sales in the U.S. As is common in the acquisition of development programs, the transaction agreements include mechanisms to ensure that Questcor pursues FDA approval and commercializes Synacthen in the U.S. upon approval. Questcor will immediately take over the rights in the U.S. Subject to certain closing conditions that must be satisfied within the next two years, Questcor will also take over rights in over three dozen countries outside the U.S. "Together with our previous acquisition of BioVectra, this transaction provides Questcor with an opportunity for both an international presence and a more robust business model," said Mr. Bailey. "We anticipate establishing a base of operations in Europe to manage and optimize the world-wide Synacthen brand."About Synacthen Synacthen and Synacthen Depot are available in more than forty countries to treat a number of conditions including some rheumatoid diseases, ulcerative colitis, chronic skin conditions responsive to corticosteroids, nephrotic syndrome, acute exacerbations in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis or retrobulbar neuritis. Synacthen and Synacthen Depot are also used as a diagnostic test for adrenal insufficiency. Synacthen and Synacthen Depot are not approved in the U.S.