Every once in a while, investors overlook a drugmaker because its compounds aren't particularly unique or fail to treat a headline-catching problem like cancer, AIDS, or high cholesterol. Alpharma
Alpharma, which is quietly turning itself into a specialty pharma dedicated to fighting pain as it sheds its less sexy businesses and in-licenses new pain drugs, reported $1.06 in adjusted earnings per share for 2007 on 10% revenue growth. Alpharma's adjusted earnings were down from the $1.25 per share it raked in for 2006, but this shortfall partly occurred as a result of Alpharma expanding its sales force ahead of the launch of its Flector pain patch this year.
Earlier this month, Alpharma shed one of its three units, making a deal to sell its active pharmaceutical ingredients division (the substances that make drugs work their magic) for $395 million. After the deal goes through and taxes are taken into account, Alpharma will have more than $660 million in cash and investments to acquire new drugs and prepare for any possible FDA approval of its abuse-resistant opioid compound next year.
Alpharma isn't the only drugmaker going down the abuse-resistant pain drug path. Others like Pain Therapeutics
Some analysts have upgraded shares of Alpharma based on sales of its Flector patch. As other drugmakers like Johnson & Johnson
Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor selection. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers paper clips to staples because they're less painful.