Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals CEO Mark Trudeau.
Whitney Curtis | AP
The stock of opioid maker Mallinckrodt hit an all-time low Thursday following a report that the troubled pharmaceutical company hired restructuring advisors and is mulling bankruptcy.
Mallinckrodt CEO Mark Trudeau told investors at a conference that the “rumors and speculation are unfortunate.” The company’s shares, which plunged by more than 40% to under $2 in intraday trading, have lost 96% of their value in the past year and are even farther from their 2015 peak of $132.51 a share.
“If we didn’t have all this opioid hysteria going on” would investors be asking why the company still owns the opioid business, Trudeau said at Wells Fargo’s annual health-care conference in Boston on Thursday.
Bloomberg on Wednesday reported that Mallinckrodt, which agreed Wednesday to pay $15.4 million to settle a drug bribery probe into a company it acquired in 2014, hired law firm Latham & Watkins and turnaround firm AlixPartners, citing unnamed sources. The drugmaker is facing mounting litigation tied to the U.S. opioid crisis.
“While we can’t really comment specifically on any specific rumors, what we can say is like any company hires advisers for all different kinds of things all the time,” Trudeau said. “Unfortunately, people are putting a whole variety of things together and making assumptions of things completely independent of what we’re trying to do as a company.”
Trudeau said Mallinckrodt remains focused on trying to transform the company into one that’s focused on drug development. Aside from opioids, Mallinckrodt is best known for selling another controversial drug. H.P. Acthar Gel, a 67-year-old drug, costs $1 billion a year.
A federal database made public earlier this year revealed Mallinckrodt to be the largest manufacturer of opioid painkillers between 2006 and 2012. About 2,000 lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors have been consolidated in Ohio. The trial for the consolidated lawsuits is slated to begin next month.
“Obviously us and other companies are embroiled in a set of uncertainties that have never been seen,” Trudeau said. “People are serving uncertainty with the actions we’re taking, leading to some of the speculation we’re seeing. It is unfortunate and does detract from what we’re trying to get done.”