Pacira Pharma (PCRX): Deep Dive Into EXPAREL - Wedbush
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Wedbush analyst, Liana Moussatos, reiterated her Outperform rating on shares of Pacira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PCRX) along with her price target of $109. Pacira formally launched EXPAREL for use in oral and maxillofacial surgical procedures on September 21 at the 98th American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
On February 25, 2016 Pacira first disclosed top line results from the INNOVATE trial testing EXPAREL treatment for extended pain management following 3rd molar (wisdom teeth) extraction. Details from this trial were disclosed in an oral presentation at AAOMS on September 23rd. The data included ITT results showing a positive trend for extended pain relief using EXPAREL contrasted by a post-hoc per protocol analysis in which extended pain relief was statistically significant. The lack of statistical significance for the ITT population was attributed to multiple protocol violations.
In discussions with oral surgeons who have successfully used EXPAREL for pain management, they believe that many of the protocol violations in the INNOVATE trial were due to improper technique distributing EXPAREL during infiltration. Pain management during third molar extractions involves multiple drugs and the infiltration technique requires skill and practice to properly distribute EXPAREL without missing spots which would result in pain.
In addition to technique, some oral surgeons are concerned about the added $170 cost of using the 10ml vial of EXPAREL; however, early adopters are offsetting the extra cost by receiving increased patient referrals after having better outcomes.
In addition to release of September (and Q3) EXPAREL sales estimated by Symphony Health on October 19, the company also anticipates data release for the EXPAREL knee IR-RCT trial by year-end 2016. This comparator trial could be important to re-accelerate EXPAREL use by orthopedic surgeons.
Shares of Pacira Pharmaceuticals closed at $36.86 yesterday.
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