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Questcor Pharma Profit Surges - Update

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc. (QCOR) Tuesday reported a surge in fourth-quarter profit, mainly as nephrologists prescribed more of its H.P. Acthar Gel in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome, as also for MS relapses and infantile spasms.

The company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share, up 25 percent from the previous dividend. The dividend will be payable on or about April 30 to stockholders as of April 22.

Nonetheless, investors were unimpressed with the results, and shares of the company slumped six percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq.

The Anaheimm, California-based biotechnology company reported quarterly net income of $62 million or $1.03 per share, compared with $31.6 million or $0.48 per share last year.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the reporting quarter totaled $65.7 million or $1.09 per share.

On average, seven analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.00 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Questcor reported quarterly net sales of $160.5 million, up from $75.5 million last year. Analysts on consensus estimated revenues of $142.58 million for the quarter.

Questcor shipped 6,330 vials of Acthar during the quarter, up 88 percent from a year ago.

Questcor, which in January purchased BioVectra Inc., said results do not reflect the acquisition of BioVectra or the change, to be applied on a prospective basis, in the Medicaid rebate percentage for Acthar, "both of which occurred in the first quarter 2013."

BioVectra has been Questcor's manufacturing partner for the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Acthar. Questcor believes the deal provides vertical integration, third party manufacturing capabilities and further secures Acthar manufacturing trade secrets.

Meanwhile, during the quarter, Questcor increased its spend on Research and development to $12 million from $5.7 million a year ago.

The company is in talks with the FDA to commence trials of Acthar for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a life-threatening, progressive neurodegenerative disease.

Enrollment is also underway in a Phase 4 trial to study the efficacy and safety of Acthar in patients with persistently active lupus.

Questcor closed Tuesday at $32.66, up 5.19%, on a volume of 3.4 million shares. In after hours, the stock dropped $1.98 or 6.06%. In the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $17.25 - $58.91.

by RTT Staff Writer

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