What happened

Shares of Collegium Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:COLL) were soaring 33.7% higher as of 11:12 a.m. EST on Thursday. This big jump came following the small drugmaker's third-quarter update after the market closed on Wednesday.

Collegium missed Wall Street estimates on both its top and bottom lines. However, the company announced exclusive formulary deals for its abuse-deterrent Xtampza ER opioid painkiller that will cover more than 35 million lives beginning in January 2020.

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So what

Collegium's huge gain today demonstrates why investing in stocks is all about the future rather than the past. No one cared about the company missing revenue and earnings estimates when its fortunes are about to get much brighter.

Xtampza ER generated $26.5 million in net product revenue in Q3, up 56% year over year. But that sales level was achieved with the drug on formularies covering around 50 million lives.

CEO Joe Ciaffoni said that Collegium's recent "payer wins will drive the next stage of growth for Xtampza ER." He's undoubtedly right. The pain reliever will soon be covered on formularies for 70% more individuals than it was during the third quarter.

However, Collegium seems likely to continue to face headwinds for its other approved product, Nucynta. Sales for Nucynta fell 13% year over year in Q3 to $46.4 million. With physicians and patients leery of using opioid drugs, Nucynta's decline probably isn't over.

Now what

While Collegium should deliver strong sales growth next year, the company has another quarter to go before the deals with the new formularies take effect. Investors could see plenty of volatility with the stock in the meantime.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.