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QRxPharma in Talks With Potential Partners to Sell Pain Drug

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- QRxPharma Ltd., the Australian drugmaker seeking U.S. approval for a new pain treatment, is in talks with other companies to help market the medicine, Chief Executive Officer John Holaday said.

An agreement may be reached by December to share the cost of marketing the MoxDuo IR pill and speed its availability, Holaday said in an interview in Hong Kong yesterday. The Sydney-based company sought Food and Drug Administration approval for the opioid therapy in July and wants to begin sales next year.

“We’ve got more than one partner that we’re in discussions with” to help sell MoxDuo IR in the U.S. and Europe, Holaday said. “They’ve plowed through all our data.”

The medicine combines morphine and oxycodone. QRxPharma is also developing an intravenous version, betting fewer side effects, such as vomiting, nausea and constipation, will make the medications preferable to existing treatments for moderate to severe pain -- a $2.5 billion segment of the $8 billion U.S. market for prescription opioids.

“Given the advantages of MoxDuo, we expect a strong commercial reception for the products from 2012 onwards,” said Stuart Roberts, an analyst with Bell Potter Securities Ltd. in Melbourne, in a Sept. 27 note to clients. Roberts estimates the worldwide market for opioid drugs at $12 billion.

QRxPharma increased 0.9 percent to A$1.18 at the 4:10 p.m. close in Sydney. The shares have declined 41 percent since they began trading on the Australian stock exchange in May 2007.

The injectable version of MoxDuo is in the second of three stages of patient studies that regulators usually require to approve a new drug.

QRxPharma has distribution partnerships with Sigma Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in Australia and China Aoxing Pharmaceuticals in China, Holaday said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natasha Khan at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Gale at

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