San Diego Business Journal

Zogenix Shares Touch All-Time Low

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The stock price for San Diego-based pharmaceutical company Zogenix Inc. has plummeted to an all-time low after a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel strongly recommended against its painkiller Zohydro.

Shares of Zogenix, traded on the Nasdaq as ZGNX, closed at $1.16 after going as low as $1.11 — its lowest price since the company went public in November 2010. Shares were $2.40 at market close on Dec. 6 — the day before the FDA review.

FDA officials voted 11-2 with one abstention against Zohydro, a stronger version of hydrocodone that would be used to manage moderate-to-severe chronic pain.

The panel of pain specialists found that the drug had a high likelihood of causing abuse and dependence, saying it was three to four times more likely to be abused by patients than drugs such as oxycodone.

The company has positioned Zohydro as a much-needed alternative to standard pain relievers that contain acetaminophen, since their prolonged use can result in liver damage.

“Zogenix recognizes and appreciates that prescription opioid misuse and abuse is a critical issue,” said Stephen Farr, president and chief operating officer of Zogenix in a statement. “However, it is also important to remember that there is a documented patient need for an extended-release hydrocodone medicine without acetaminophen.”

The FDA is scheduled to make a decision on whether or not to approve Zohydro for commercial use by March 1.

— Meghana Keshavan