Imprimis Pharma to take on Allergan’s Restasis with cheaper product


(Reuters) – Shares of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals sky-rocketed as much as 91.1 percent on Thursday, after it said it would offer a cheaper option to Allergan’s dry eye disease medicine, Restasis.

Allergan last month sued Imprimis alleging the company is illegally manufacturing and selling unapproved new drugs. Imprimis called the lawsuit frivolous and a tactic to snuff out competition offering lower cost options to expensive drugs.

The drugmaker, which had a market cap of $29.30 million at the close of trade on Wednesday, said it would offer a compound formulation of cyclosporine, the off-patent version of Restasis.

It will cost 99 cents for a month’s supply and refills start at $79 a month.

Allergan recently stirred controversy after striking a deal with a Native American tribe that would shield certain patents on Restasis, which can cost $5,000 a year according to Imprimis.

A U.S. judge on Monday invalidated those patents on Restasis on the grounds that they cover ideas that are obvious.

The company’s shares were up 72.6 percent at $2.51 in morning trade.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr