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Questcor Surges After Acquiring Rights to Novartis Drug

Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc., a maker of treatments for nervous system disorders, rose the most in almost nine months after buying the rights to the immune drug Synacthen from Novartis AG.

Questcor climbed 15 percent to $42.11 at the close in New York, its biggest increase since Sept. 20. Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis received $60 million upfront and will get $75 million more and possible milestone payments in coming years, Anaheim, California-based Questcor said today.

Synacthen is used for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, including ulcerative colitis and chronic skin conditions. Questcor will develop the drug for sale in the U.S., where it hasn’t been approved, and may sell it in more than three dozen countries abroad.

“This key acquisition provides an opportunity to initiate our presence in more than three dozen international markets, giving us an opportunity to reinvigorate Synacthen in these markets and providing us a platform for potential international growth,” Don Bailey, Questcor’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Questcor plans to set up operations in Europe to handle the drug abroad. Last year, 100 percent of the company’s sales were in the U.S.

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