Acthar gel boasts 19 different indications for which the Food and Drug Administration has granted approval. Questcor now has its sights on profiting from one of those that it hasn't targeted previously. The company today announced plans to kick off a pilot commercialization effort for symptomatic sarcoidosis, a rare disease that most often affects the lungs.

Starting small
Questcor says that it will hire between five and 10 sales representatives to call on pulmonologists within the next couple of months or so. These reps will be trained and prepared to deliver the company's message on the benefits of Acthar in treating respiratory manifestations of symptomatic sarcoidosis.

The company expects those sales reps to hit the pavement in the fourth quarter, knocking on the doors of pulmonologists. Can only a handful of reps even make a dent in building up sales for Acthar? Not really, but that's not the most important goal -- at least at the beginning.


As Questcor COO Steve Cartt stated, the company expects to "gain valuable information" from the initial effort. This information will then be used to determine the best way to move forward with broader commercialization efforts.

Looking ahead
There's no guarantee that the effort to sell Acthar as a treatment for symptomatic sarcoidosis will be successful. Questcor readily admits that. However, the company does have a couple of things in its favor.

Currently, the only approved treatments for the disease are steroids -- and Acthar. Questcor needs to convince pulmonologists that Acthar is the superior alternative. The company is evaluating the possibility of moving forward with clinical studies that could bolster its case.

The other advantage for Questcor is its track record. While symptomatic sarcoidosis is a new area for the company, expanding Acthar in a smart way isn't new.

Questcor most recently took a similar approach for rheumatology. The company started small, as it's planning to do with the new targeted indication. It learned as it went forward and refined sales strategies. As a result, Questcor now says that it is seeing higher than expected prescription volumes for Acthar in treating rheumatoid arthritis and is hearing positive feedback from physicians.

Can Questcor repeat its success and prevail in the pulmonary market? I wouldn't discount the company's chances. Winning over pulmonologists isn't a sure thing, but the way Questcor handles the process makes sense. And if things don't work out, there are plenty more of those 19 approved indications to target next.

Questcor's strategy of doing more with what it's got actually isn't a bad idea for individuals. Take Social Security, for example. It plays a key role in your financial security even if you're years away from receiving benefits. In our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder For You," our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

The article Can Questcor Prevail in Pulmonary? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

What are Penny Stocks

The lucrative and dangerous world of penny stocks.

View Course »

Reading a Stock Quote

Learn to read the ingredients of a stock.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum