Jazz's big band sound

Jazz continues specialty acquisition strategy, but will shift focus to R&D buys

A 2008 decision to concentrate on its commercial business has paid off for Jazz Pharmaceuticals Inc. The company has quadrupled its revenues, reduced its debt and increased its number of marketed drugs tenfold with two recent acquisitions. Jazz now plans to use that track record to woo specialty pharmas with R&D stage assets.

Jazz was formed in 2003 to in-license or acquire assets close to market. By 2008, the company had a pipeline of Phase II and Phase III programs, but financial constraints and clinical setbacks caused it to essentially shut down development to focus on growing the revenues of narcolepsy drug Xyrem sodium oxybate.

Over the next four years, Jazz increased its product revenues to $272 million from $64.6 million. While part of the growth was due to steady price increases for Xyrem, the company also grew prescriptions by low double-digit rates each year.

Jazz credits its commercial success to clinical acceptance of Xyrem, outreach to patients and prescribers, and the addition of an experienced chief commercial officer.

After two years of strong revenue growth, Jazz used the money to pay down its debt and did two specialty acquisitions, including its purchase of Azur Pharma Ltd. for stock, which closed in January, and last month's proposed cash acquisition of cancer company EUSA Pharma Inc.

The two deals give the company a foothold in Europe and increase Jazz's

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