(By Balaseshan) Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: PCRX) and Aratana Therapeutics Inc. have entered into a global licensing agreement for the development and commercialization of bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension for animal health indications.
Under the agreement, Aratana will develop and seek approval for the use of the product in veterinary surgery to manage postsurgical pain, focusing initially on developing the product for cats, dogs and other companion animals.
Bupivacaine liposome injectable suspension is approved for human use in the United States for the management of postsurgical pain and is currently marketed by Pacira under the name EXPAREL.
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EXPAREL is a non-opioid local anesthetic, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2011 for administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia.
EXPAREL utilizes DepoFoam, a proprietary delivery technology utilized in several Pacira products approved for human use. Veterinary development of the product may address the estimated 33 million surgical procedures performed each year on companion animals in the U.S.
Under the agreement, Aratana made a one-time payment to Pacira of $1 million and will pay additional development and commercial milestones totaling up to $42.5 million. In addition, upon approval of the product by the FDA, Aratana will pay Pacira a double-digit royalty on net sales of the product.
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Should Aratana sublicense the product to a third party, Aratana and Pacira will share the proceeds by a predetermined formula (after Aratana has recovered certain direct development costs). Pacira will be responsible for all product manufacturing, and Pacira and Aratana will form a joint committee to oversee commercialization and development activities.
"We continue to see EXPAREL adoption in a wide range of surgical settings, the generation of positive Phase 4 data and considerable sales growth during our launch year. We also have recently completed the installation of our expanded manufacturing suite – these milestones all strongly position the program for a strategic partnership," said David Stack, chief executive of Pacira.
PCRX closed Wednesday's regular session down 2.24% at $16.57. The stock has been trading between $7.38 and $19.31 for the past 52 weeks.