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Penwest Rallies As Impax, Sandoz To Sell Opana ER Generics

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Endo Pharmaceuticals Holdings Inc. (ENDP) said it and Penwest Pharmaceuticals Co. (PPCO) have agreed to grant two separate licenses to sell generic Opana extended-release pain-relief tablets. Shares of Penwest, whose fortunes are significantly tied to Opana, jumped 21% to $3.35 as the deals eliminate uncertainty that has hung over the company for years. The stock is up 53% the past year, but traded above $20 in 2006. Impax gained 0.9% to $19.96 while Endo added 9 cents to $20.31. Opana ER has been a source of continuing patent litigation for the developers. Penwest in May said it settled a separate dispute with Barr Laboratories related to the drug. Sales for the Opana franchise generated $66 million for Endo in its latest quarter, a 25% increase from the year-earlier period, it said in April. On Tuesday, Endo said it and Penwest granted Novartis AG's (NOVN.VX) Sandoz Inc. unit a license to sell a generic version of Opana in September 2012. Impax Laboratories Inc. (IPXL) will get a similar license, effective at the start of 2013. Impax will have 180 days of exclusivity for tablets with several dosages of the drug, Endo said. Opana ER is used to relieve moderate to severe pain in patients requiring around-the-clock treatment for an extended period of time, according to a website for the drug. -By Matt Jarzemsky; Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2240,

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