Questcor Pharmaceuticals Q4 Profit Soars 53% on Higher Acthar Sales

Shares of mid-cap biopharma Questcor Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: QCOR.DL  ) attempted to keep its rally alive by reporting impressive growth in its fourth-quarter results after the bell this evening.

For the quarter, Questcor -- whose lone FDA-approved products is Acthar Gel, a product with 19 current indications – delivered strong sales growth of 51% to $242.9 million which was almost entirely a result of improved Acthar sales. Questcor notes that 8,100 vials of Acthar were shipped during the fourth-quarter, a 28% improvement over the 6,330 that were shipped during the fourth-quarter last year.

Questcor's CEO Don Bailey specifically pointed out that new paid prescriptions "grew about 30%" from the year-ago quarter with rheumatology-related new paid prescriptions providing the biggest surge. Bailey also mentioned that rheumatology now accounts for close to 30% of Questcor's total business after only three quarters of educating rheumatologists on its drug.

Additional sales strength was witnessed from its nephrotic syndrome segment which delivered paid new prescription growth of 5% year-over-year, as well as its multiple sclerosis relapse segment which saw 9% year-over-year new paid prescription growth.

Profit for the quarter improved an equally impressive 53% to $1.67 per share from $1.09 in the fourth-quarter of 2012.

Questcor's release points out that it repurchased 960,000 shares of its common stock during the quarter at an average price of $55.26 per share, and that its board had declared a $0.30 quarterly dividend. Despite mentioning numerous other indications it may seek for Acthar, Questcor did not issue any forward guidance.

Questcor shares were down near $4 per share, or 5%, in after hours at the time of this writing.

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Sean Williams

A Fool since 2010, and a graduate from UC San Diego with a B.A. in Economics, Sean specializes in the healthcare sector and in investment planning topics. You'll usually find him writing about Obamacare, marijuana, developing drugs, diagnostics, and medical devices, Social Security, taxes, or any number of other macroeconomic issues.

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