- Assuming that all sales and regulatory milestones are hit, Pernix Therapeutics could end up paying a total of $383.5 million for Zogenix's opioid painkiller Zohydro.
- Zohydro is an extended-release hydrocodone painkiller, which does not contain acetaminophen and is indicated for treatment of chronic pain.
- This sale is transformational for Zogenix in that it now has the cash to focus on its core mission---to develop central nervous system (CNS) drugs.
San Diego-based Zogenix is becoming very focused and mission-oriented by devoting its attention to two drugs—ZX008 for Dravet syndrome (severe epilepsy) and Relday (a long-lasting injectable for treatment of schizophrenia). Both drugs are in phase 3. Not only will Zogenix benefit from the cash infusion from the sale, but the company will also be able to realize significant cost-savings. One major reason is that the Zohydro sales force is being transferred to Pernix, which is based in Morristown, NJ.
While Zohyrdo ER has generated controversy because of concerns that it is readily abused, a new tamper-proof version of the drug was approved in January by the FDA.On the upside, because it does not contain acetaminophen, Zohydro ER is not associated with the liver damage risk associated with long-term acetaminophen use. And the $9 billion market for opioids (based on 2011 IMS figures), especially highly effective painkillers like Zohydro ER, with built-in safety features is strong and getting stronger. This situation looks very much like a win-win proposition.