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Opioid maker Mallinckrodt's stock hits all-time low on report of hiring bankruptcy advisor

Key Points
  • Mallinckrodt CEO Mark Trudeau called a report the opioid manufacturer is weighing bankruptcy "unfortunate."
  • Mallinckrodt hired restructuring firms, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.
  • The company's shares, which plunged 39% to $1.59, have lost 96% of their value in the past year.
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 39%, closing at $1.59, have lost 95% of their value in the past year and are even further from their 2015 peak of $132.51 a share.

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.

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"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 at Wells Fargo's annual health-care conference in Boston on Thursday. "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 concentrated on drug development. Aside from opioids, Mallinckrodt is best known for selling another controversial drug. H.P. Acthar Gel, a 67-year-old drug, has $1 billion a year in sales.

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."

Correction: H.P. Acthar Gel has $1 billion a year in sales. An earlier version mischaracterized the figure.

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