AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:ACRX) announced that the European Commission (EC) has approved Zalviso™ (15 micrograms sufentanil sublingual tablets) for the management of acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain in adult patients. The marketing authorization is granted for the 28 EU member states as well as for the European Economic Area (EEA) countries,Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Zalviso is a system combining a drug and a device designed to deliver a sublingual tablet formulation of sufentanil 15 mcg via a proprietary, pre-programmed, non-invasive, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) device. Grunenthal Group, AcelRx’s licensee in Europe and Australia, expects the product to be available to Western European patients in the first half of 2016.

“This is a significant event for AcelRx. Not only is this the Company’s first marketing approval, but it represents the successful development and commercialization of a product that we believe will provide a new way for physicians and their patients to treat acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain using an innovative delivery method,” statedHowie Rosen, interim chief executive officer of AcelRx Pharmaceuticals. “Our partner Grunenthal will be working with the member states of the EU and EEA to ensure that Zalviso is made available to those patients who would benefit from an effective and reliable solution for their moderate-to-severe post-surgical pain.”

Zalviso is designed to offer sustained (for up to 72 hours) and reliable pain relief for acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain. In a Phase 3 clinical trial in patients who had undergone major joint replacement or open abdominal surgery, a higher percentage of study participants who self-administered Zalviso over a 48-hour period rated the method of pain control “good” or “excellent” compared to those using intravenous (IV) morphine PCA (p=0.007). Moreover, patients surveyed in this study rated their overall ease of care (p<0.001) and overall satisfaction (p=0.004) with Zalviso as higher than with IV morphine PCA. Zalviso was also rated by nurses to provide higher treatment satisfaction (p<0.001) and overall ease of care (p=0.017) compared with IV morphine PCA. Adverse events reported in the study were generally mild or moderate in nature and similar in both placebo and treatment groups, however fewer patients using Zalviso™ experienced oxygen desaturation episodes < 95% (p=0.028).

Dott. Alberto Grua, chief commercial officer Europe, Australia, North America & Global Product Supply (CCO EU, AUS, NA & GPS) from Grunenthal, adds, “We are delighted to bring a new, innovative way to manage post-operative pain to European healthcare professionals and patients. By combining the benefits of patient-controlled analgesia with those of a non-invasive route of administration, Zalviso offers a unique solution to address unmet needs of adult patients suffering from acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain.”

On an annual basis, there are 19 million surgical procedures with associated acute moderate-to-severe post-operative pain in the European Union. A recent German survey in patients after surgery has shown that 55% of all patients are not satisfied with their treatment for post-operative pain1. Even more so, 30% mention that their pain management has been inadequately effective [1 Maier C et al. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2010; 107; 607-614]. (Original Source)

Shares of Acelrx Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $3.89. ACRX has a 1-year high of $9.32 and a 1-year low of $2.96. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $4.20 and its 200-day moving average is $4.09.

On the ratings front, Acelrx Pharmaceuticals has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on September 14, H.C. Wainwright analyst Ed Arce reiterated a Buy rating on ACRX, with a price target of $8.50, which implies an upside of 118.5% from current levels. Separately, on September 9, Roth Capital’s Michael Higgins reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $7.50.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Ed Arce and Michael Higgins have a total average return of 31.4% and 16.0% respectively. Arce has a success rate of 41.7% and is ranked #110 out of 3768 analysts, while Higgins has a success rate of 45.5% and is ranked #750.

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc is a specialty pharmaceutical company. The Company is engaged in thedevelopment and commercialization of therapies for the treatment of acute pain.