(Adds details on drug, background)
Feb 28 (Reuters) - Sorrento Therapeutics Inc is planning to launch later this year its stick-on patch to relieve nerve pain due to shingles, ZTlido, which received the U.S. Food And Drug Administration approval on Wednesday.
The company hopes to market ZTlido as a non-opioid drug and capitalize on the backlash that sellers and prescribers of addictive painkillers have been facing in the United States.
The treatment's approval puts the bandage-like patch into a market currently split between Endo International Plc's Lidoderm, which has been on the market for nearly 20 years, and generic versions of that product.
Shingles, characterized by painful rash, is caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus in patients who have suffered from the disease in the past.
One of the most common complications of shingles, particularly among the elderly, is postherpetic neuralgia - a burning pain that lasts long after rash and blisters disappear.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost 1 in 3 people in the United States will develop shingles, also known as herpes zoster, during their lifetime.
Sorrento acquired Ztlido when it bought a majority stake in privately-owned SCILEX Pharmaceuticals Inc in November 2016.
The FDA had previously rejected the treatment in 2016.
Shares of Sorrento were halted in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)