Company news: Avanir Pharmaceuticals

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Avanir Pharmaceuticals said it will launch Nuedexta, its newly approved drug for treating pseudobulbar affect (PBA), in first quarter 2011 with a sales force of 75 reps. PBA is a debilitating condition marked by uncontrollable spells of laughing and crying secondary to neurologic disease or injury, and Nuedexta is the only approved product for the condition. On a conference call yesterday, Avanir CEO Keith Katkin said seven Avanir sales reps have already started educating HCPs on PBA and that the firm is now reaching out to 68 other reps who accepted conditional offers prior to Friday's approval. Each will target 200 doctors (15,000 total) treating the neurological conditions underlying PBA, including neurologists, geriatric psychiatrists, geriatricians and physical medicine & rehab specialists (those who treat stroke patients). This week the firm is unveiling a Nuedexta product booth at two medical meetings—the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation meeting in Seattle and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists meeting in Orlando. In addition, Avanir is working closely with various patient advocacy groups that represent populations at risk for PBA—in areas such as stroke, ALS and traumatic brain injury—to educate their constituents and increase recognition, diagnosis and, ultimately, treatment.
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