Saturday, November 28, 2015

Will Endo's 'hard' pill save opium profits?

A new version of Opana could defeat addict abusers and protect sales for Endo Pharmaceuticals, if the FDA approves quickly

Will Endo's 'hard' pill save opium profits?


Endo Pharmaceuticals, West Chester-based maker of Percocet, Percodan and other big-league painkillers, is trying to "protect a good portion of the franchise from generic competition for at least several more years" with a new version of opium-based (oxymorphone) Opana ER, "a harder pill that is very difficult to crush or dissolve" by drug abusers seeking to unlock the time-release and get a quick hit, writes Gary Nachman, drug analyst at Bala Cynwyd-based Susquehanna International Group LLP, in a report to clients today.

Drugmaker Purdue Pharma LP recently won a similar approval for a "hard-shell" and 
tamper-resistant" version of its often-abused OxyContin. Nachman says hard pills are more effective at baffling drug abusers than rival technologies relying on chemical additives, and that FDA has said further testing for the new Opana isn't needed.

Endo sold $240 million of Opana last year and expects prescriptions to grow to around $300 million this year and for the next couple of years until generics and newer rivals trim its sales.

But Nachman also "cautioned against jumping to the conclusion" that FDA will give final approval very soon. If FDA does approve hardened Opana early this winter - "roughly a 40% chance" - Nachman predicts "the stock could be up $2-$3 a share."

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PhillyDeals posts interviews, drafts and updates that Joseph N. DiStefano writes alongside his Sunday and Monday columns and ongoing articles about Philadelphia-area business.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn. He taught writing and research at St. Joe’s. He has written for the Inquirer since 1989, except when he left a few times to work at Bloomberg and elsewhere. He wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six kids with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at, 215.854.5194, @PhillyJoeD. Read his blog posts at and his Inquirer columns at Bloomberg posts his items at NH BLG_PHILLYDEAL.

Reach Joseph at or 215 854 5194.

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