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Assertio Therapeutics' Shares Jump 50% on Sale of Shingles Pain Drug to Alvogen

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Assertio Therapeutics' shares rose 50% today after the firm reported that it has agreed to sell all rights to its Gralise drug used in the treatment of pain from shingles to Alvogen for $127.5 million. The transaction is expected to close in January 2020.

Shares of pharmaceutical company Assertio Therapeutics Inc. (ASRT:NASDAQ), which is focused in the areas of neurology, orphan and specialty medicines, today announced that "it has entered into an agreement with Alvogen, a global privately held pharmaceutical company, under which Alvogen will acquire and assume all responsibilities associated with the product GraliseŽ (gabapentin). The agreement is expected to close in early January 2020, subject to regulatory approval."

The firm explained that Gralise is a prescription medicine used to treat postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) pain after shingles. PHN pain can be excruciating and often persists long after shingles scales heal and other symptoms have subsided.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Alvogen will pay Assertio a total value of $127.5 million. This includes $75 million in cash upon closing and the balance payable in the form of a royalty on the first $70 million in Gralise net sales." The firms indicated that the majority of the royalties are expected to be paid during the first calendar year. Assertio advised that following the close of the transaction it will provide a complete update on the financial impact of the Gralise sale on the company.

Arthur Higgins, president and CEO of Assertio, commented, "This transaction continues the transformation of Assertio, allows us to focus on our growth products, CAMBIAŽ and ZipsorŽ, strengthens our balance sheet, and increases our flexibility for future business development opportunities."

Assertio Therapeutics is headquartered in Lake Forest, Ill., and is focused on advancing patient care in the core areas of neurology, orphan and specialty medicines. The company stated that "it currently markets three FDA-approved products and continues to identify, license and develop new products that offer enhanced options for patients that may be underserved by existing therapies."

Alvogen describes its business as "a global, privately owned pharmaceutical company focused on developing, manufacturing and selling generic, brand, over-the-counter medicines (OTC) and biosimilar products for patients around the world. The company has commercial operations in 35 countries with 2,800 employees and operates four manufacturing and development hubs in the U.S., Romania, Korea and Taiwan." Alvogen's product portfolio also includes a broad range of leading molecules for the treatment of conditions in the areas of oncology, cardiology, respiratory, neurology and gastroenterology.

Assertio Therapeutics began the day with a market capitalization of approximately $63.4 million with about 80.68 million shares outstanding along with a short interest of around 19%. ASRT shares opened more than 30% higher today at $1.03 (+$0.2448, +31.18%) over yesterday's $0.78 closing price. The stock has traded today between $0.98 to $1.24 per share and is currently trading at $1.20 (+$0.41, +52.83%).

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