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Questcor Pharma Third Quarter Results Top Estimates; Stock Down 10% On Probe

Biotechnology company Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR: Quote) reported Tuesday a profit for the third quarter that surged from last year, reflecting strong double-digit sales growth amid expanded usage of blockbuster drug H.P. Acthar Gel. Both adjusted earnings per share and quarterly revenues also topped analysts' expectations.

However, shares of the company plunged nearly 10 percent in extended trading after the company revealed in its earnings conference call that two additional regulators joined an ongoing investigation into the company by the U.S. attorneys office in Philadelphia.

"Our net sales continued to expand with rheumatology, neurology, and nephrology exhibiting growth year-over-year. This quarter's performance was primarily driven by a continued increase in Acthar usage among both rheumatologists and nephrologists," President and CEO Don Bailey said in a statement.

The Anaheimm, California-based company reported net income of $95.37 million or $1.52 per share for the third quarter, higher than $55.70 million or $0.91 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter totaled $104.37 million or $1.68 per share, compared to $59.43 million or $0.97 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $1.29 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter surged 68 percent to $236.35 million from $140.34 million in the same quarter last year, and topped ten Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $199.70 million. Specialty manufacturing subsidiary BioVectra contributed $9.0 million to total sales.

Net sales growth was primarily driven by the expanded usage of H.P. Acthar Gel (repository corticotropin injection) for patients suffering from dermatomyositis, polymyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

Sales were also aided by the continued prescribing of Acthar by nephrologists in the treatment of nephrotic syndrome (NS) and by neurologists in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses and infantile spasms (IS).

Questcor shipped 8,132 vials of Acthar during the quarter, up 45 percent from 5,590 vials last year. The company added that vial shipments are subject to significant variation due to the size and timing of individual orders received from its distributor.

New paid prescriptions for Acthar for the quarter increased about 30 percent to about 2,450 to 2,500 from last year. There were also 1,370 to 1,400 new paid prescriptions for Multiple Sclerosis relapse patients, up about 4 percent year-over-year. New paid prescriptions for Infantile Spasms grew 33 percent to 225 to 230 from last year.

"As Questcor's annualized sales approach the $1 billion mark, we believe we have established a strong foundation for growth and remain excited about our future prospects," Bailey added.

QCOR closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $69.73, up $1.76 or 2.59% on a volume of 3.20 million shares. However, the stock plunged $6.63 or 9.51% in after-hours trading.

by RTT Staff Writer

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