King Pharmaceuticals (KR) recently moved pain candidate, Eladur, which has been in-licensed from Durect Corporation (DRRX) into a phase IIb study.

Eladur, a transdermal drug patch, is intended to provide continuous delivery of bupivacaine for up to 3 days from a single application, as compared to a wearing time limited to 12 hours with currently available lidocaine patches. The candidate has been developed using Durect’s proprietary TRANSDUR transdermal technology.

The phase IIb 12-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial will study the efficacy and safety of Eladur in patients suffering from chronic low back pain. About 260 patients will participate in this study.

Eladur became a part of King’s pipeline portfolio following its December 2008 acquisition of Alpharma. In addition to Eladur, King has several pain candidates in its pipeline including Remoxy and Acurox, among others. While Remoxy is being developed in collaboration with Pain Therapeutics (PTIE), Acurox is being developed in collaboration with Acura Pharmaceuticals (ACUR).

Although both Remoxy and Acurox have yet to gain approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), King received a major boost last year with the approval of another opioid, Embeda. Embeda, which was launched in the third quarter of 2009, posted $6 million in sales in the fourth quarter of 2009.

We believe that Embeda represents significant growth potential and could help King gain a leadership position in the abuse-deterrent opioid market.

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on King. We believe that King’s acquisition of Alpharma has come at the right time. This acquisition has helped King create a diversified specialty pharma company with greater commercialization capabilities, an expanded portfolio of pain management products and a strengthened pipeline.
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Read the full analyst report on “PTIE”
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