Pacira Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:PCRX) announced a joint endeavor with GeneAlign, a therapeutic management and solutions company working to revolutionize personalized medicine through a patient-specific opioid risk assessment program that includes behavioral surveys, educational tools and genetic testing. Under the collaborative research partnership, a GeneAlign scientific team will work alongside a Pacira team to develop and utilize these survey tools and genetic testing assets to identify preoperative patients with genetic markers indicating a potential predisposal to opioid addiction.

This hospital-based initiative is currently being rolled out in pilot institutions and includes a GeneAlign genetic test conducted via a quick and painless cheek swab that collects information on 19 genes associated with metabolism, clinical response and addiction risk. The test provides important information regarding the patient’s genetic predisposition to numerous commonly prescribed opioids and other non-opioid drugs relevant to the perioperative setting. Additionally, this comprehensive program provides patients with education about the risks and benefits associated with opioid and non-opioid pain medications, including the potential for opioid addiction. The patient’s attending clinicians will then have access to this information to assist them in the development of individualized postsurgical pain management strategies following evidence-based protocols.

“As personalized medicine becomes increasingly integrated into clinical practice, providers need access to actionable genetic data at the point of care to better understand which drugs to utilize, which drugs to avoid and what opioid or non-opioid alternatives may be best suited for each individual patient,” said Jim Silliman, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and president and chief executive officer of GeneAlign. “We are proud to collaborate with Pacira on this important initiative to help advance clinicians’ therapeutic decision-making processes and, ultimately, to optimize patient outcomes and reduce the overall opioid burden.”

Beyond the unwanted and potentially life-threatening adverse events associated with opioid use, research continues to uncover the connection between their introduction in the hospital setting and the overall societal opioid burden.

“As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage our nation, we are privileged to partner with GeneAlign on an actionable solution to help curb the proliferation of opioid misuse, abuse and addiction that often begins through exposure to these medications in the postsurgical setting,” said Dave Stack, chairman and chief executive officer of Pacira Pharmaceuticals. “This joint undertaking to revolutionize the concept of personalized medicine for our hospital patients truly embodies the Pacira corporate commitment to improve patient care.”

A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted that for opioid-naive patients, many surgical procedures are associated with an increased risk of chronic opioid use in the postsurgical period; perhaps more startling, a recent national survey revealed that one in 10 patients admit they’ve become addicted to or dependent on opioids after being exposed to these powerful medications following an operation. (Original Source)

Shares of Pacira closed yesterday at $31.40, down $1.45 or -4.41%. PCRX has a 1-year high of $80.25 and a 1-year low of $30.25. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $33.93 and its 200-day moving average is $39.72.

On the ratings front, Pacira has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on November 23, BMO analyst Gary Nachman maintained a Hold rating on PCRX, with a price target of $35, which represents a potential upside of 11% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on the same day, Mizuho’s Irina Rivkind Koffler reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $46.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Gary Nachman and Irina Rivkind Koffler have a yearly average return of 9.8% and 16.5% respectively. Nachman has a success rate of 68% and is ranked #581 out of 4239 analysts, while Koffler has a success rate of 49% and is ranked #83.

Overall, 4 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 4 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $55.00 which is 75.2% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company. It develops, commercializes, and manufactures pharmaceutical products for use in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. It develops pharmaceutical products based on its proprietary DepoFoam drug delivery technology. The company markets EXPAREL, a liposome injection of bupivacaine, an amide-type local anesthetic, indicated for administration into the surgical site to produce postsurgical analgesia; and DepoCyt(e), a liposomal formulation of the chemotherapeutic agent cytarabine indicated for the intrathecal treatment of lymphomatous meningitis, a cancer of the immune system. Its product pipeline comprise EXPAREL that has completed Phase II clinical trials for postsurgical analgesia-nerve block administration; DepoNSAID, which is in preclinical trials for the relief of that is in preclinical trials acute pain; and DepoTXA is currently in pre-clinical development, which is used to treat or prevent excessive blood loss during surgery by promoting hemostasis.