Acura Pharma shares blitzed after Pfizer dumps three partnered programs

Shares of Acura Pharmaceuticals ($ACUR) were blitzed badly late Friday after the biotech put out the word that Pfizer ($PFE) is terminating a big partnership initially struck 5 years ago on the development of three drugs using the biotech's technology for avoiding opioid abuse.

Reuters reports that Acura had picked up $78.5 million in fees under the 2007 deal, which was struck by King Pharmaceuticals before Pfizer swept in to acquire the pain medication developer. And Acura took an upbeat tone, offering the possibility that a new set of partners could step in to replace Pfizer. Acura investors, though, came to a different conclusion and drove down shares by 34%.

"We are pleased to regain control of these tamper-resistant opioid products because we continue to believe they hold promise in combating widespread prescription opioid abuse," said Acura President and CEO Bob Jones. "We will evaluate our strategy for these products over the coming months, including possible partnering with alternative strategic partners, and will work with Pfizer to exercise our rights under the Pfizer Agreement for the transition of these products back to us."  

Pfizer is keeping rights to Oxecta, a pain product that is already on the market.

- here's the release
- get the Reuters report