Shares of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (QCOR) touched a new life-time high of $18.50 on Tuesday. The company issued preliminary metrics for the first quarter, whereby it projects a 115 percent first quarter surge in sales of its main drug H.P. Acthar Gel that is used to treat certain disorders with an inflammatory component.
The Union City, California-headquartered pharmaceutical company reported preliminary gross sales of $48.6 million for first quarter. The company said it shipped 2,010 vials of Acthar during the quarter. The company estimates operating expenses of $16 million to $18 million.
Questcor's H.P. Acthar Gel is an injectable drug that is approved for the treatment of exacerbations associated with multiple sclerosis, infantile spasms, opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome, and nephrotic syndrome.
During the first quarter, the company used $11.5 million to repurchase 884,300 shares of its common stock in open market transactions. These repurchases brought the total expenditures for the repurchase of common and preferred shares to over $78 million since this effort began in 2008.
As of March 31, 2011, Questcor had 61.7 million shares of common stock outstanding, with 4.3 million shares remaining under its common stock repurchase program. Questcor's cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments as of March 31, 2011 totaled $122 million. Questcor currently expects to release its financial results for the first quarter on April 26.
The strong performance we saw late in the fourth quarter of 2010 has continued in the first quarter of 2011 and was driven by the increasing productivity of our recently expanded Acthar sales force. March showed significant growth in MS prescriptions and exceeded February's record performance by over 50 percent. While we are very encouraged by the first quarter new prescription results, we note that prior sharp increases in sequential quarterly Acthar prescriptions have usually been followed by more modest sequential growth, Chief Executive Officer Don Bailey said.
Questcor stock gapped open sharply higher April 5 at $17.60 compared to previous day's close of $14.92. The stock touched a new high of $18.50 on Tuesday. The stock closed Tuesday's regular trading up 20.64 percent at $18 on a record volume of 7.16 million shares on the NASDAQ Stock Market. The stock traded between $7.84 and $18.50 during the past 52 weeks.