Shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals On the Run as Kerr Drugs as Nexafed to Locations

Andrew Klips  |

Shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals (ACUR) are on the upswing in Tuesday morning trading after the drug maker reported expending its distribution channels that offset a widening fourth-quarter loss.

The Palatine, Illinois-based company said that chain store Kerr Drug will begin stocking its new 30 mg pseudoephedrine with abuse deterrent technology, called Nexafed. The new drug combines nasal-congestion relief with a unique technology that disrupts the conversion of pseudoephedrine into the dangerous drug methamphetamine that has grown into a substantial concern of abuse across the U.S.

Based in North Carolina, Kerr Drug has more than 75 locations. Nexafed is expected to be hitting the shelves of stores within two weeks. Acura commercially launched Nexafed in December.

"We are extremely pleased with Kerr Drug's decision to join the fight against methamphetamine abuse by stocking Nexafed®," said Robert B. Jones, president and chief executive officer of Acura Pharmaceuticals. "We anticipated early interest in Nexafed® from independent pharmacies but it is rewarding that forward-looking drug chains like Kerr Drug are stepping up to make a difference in the communities in which they operate."

Future sales will be a welcome addition to Acura’s balance sheet, which was void of revenue in the fourth quarter, ended December 31, 2012.

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For the quarter, the company reported a net loss of $3.0 million, or 6 cents per share, versus a net loss of $1.6 million, or 3 cents per share in the year prior quarter. No revenue was reported in the fourth quarter of 2011 either.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, Acura recorded no revenue compared with revenue of $20.5 million in the same period in 2011, which was primarily cash from $20 million in milestone payments from Pfizer Inc. (PFE) following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Pfizer’s New Drug Application for OXECTA® (oxycodone HCI, USP) Tablets CII, which utilize Acura’s AVERSION Technology.

Acura has developed its proprietary AVERSION and IMPEDE technologies as solutions to address medication abuse and misuse. AVERSION contains polymers that cause the drug to gel when dissolved and also contains compounds that irritate the nasal passages. IMPEDE is designed to disrupt the processing of pseudoephedrine from tablets into methamphetamine.

In January, Acura’s Investigational New Drug Application was accepted by the FDA for Acura to conduct clinical testing of its hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen formulated with its AVERSION Technology. Acura has initiated the intranasal abuse liability testing in recreational drug users of the crushed drug product.

The developments are helping shares of Acura trek higher in recent months after hitting a 52-week low of $1.06 on November 20. Shares spiked as high as $4.50 in December. Following a pull-back to around $2.00, the share price is back on the run, including trading ahead more than 50 percent in Tuesday morning action at $3.10.

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