ANAHEIM, Calif., July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOR) today announced its intent to initiate a pilot commercialization effort for H.P. Acthar® Gel (repository corticotropin injection) for the treatment of respiratory manifestations of symptomatic sarcoidosis, a potentially serious, difficult-to-treat disorder already included on the FDA-approved package insert for Acthar. The pilot effort will focus on pulmonologists, who are the respiratory specialists treating this rare autoimmune disorder.
The company anticipates hiring and training a small, pilot sales force of five to ten sales representatives during the current quarter, with introductory sales calls expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year. While this approach mirrors the pilot commercial efforts by Questcor in neurology, nephrology and rheumatology, there can be no assurance that this initiative will lead to a fully-sized pulmonology sales force or that the company's efforts with respect to this disorder will otherwise be successful.
Questcor is also evaluating several potential clinical studies that have been recently proposed by key opinion leaders in the sarcoidosis field.
"This commercial expansion, together with our increasing R&D investment, continues our efforts to expand patient access to the FDA-approved, on-label indications of Acthar," said Don M. Bailey, Questcor's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Already, patients suffering from nephrotic syndrome (NS), multiple sclerosis (MS) exacerbations, infantile spasms, and certain rheumatology-related conditions have benefitted from Acthar. Our plans to increase awareness among pulmonologists treating patients suffering from respiratory manifestations of symptomatic sarcoidosis will follow the model we have used successfully for these other markets as we continue to explore the full therapeutic potential of Acthar.""We are experiencing solid uptake of Acthar in rheumatology including, most recently, a larger than expected number of prescriptions for rheumatoid arthritis, an additional on-label indication, and are receiving positive feedback from physicians in the rheumatology community," commented Steve Cartt, Chief Operating Officer of Questcor. "Based on this early success, and our track record of successful entry into multiple new Acthar markets, we are accelerating our plans to begin a pilot effort for Acthar with pulmonologists to help patients suffering from symptomatic sarcoidosis. We will hire a small group of new Acthar Specialists to begin calling on and educating pulmonologists about Acthar and its potential role in the treatment of this difficult-to-treat autoimmune disorder. As we have successfully done in the past with our MS, NS and rheumatology commercial efforts, we expect to gain valuable information from this initial pilot effort, which will inform our potential next steps in the commercialization process."