Pozen to issue special dividend

Pozen will issue a special $1.75 per share dividend to stockholders next month.

The dividend will be distributed to all shareholders as of the close of business Dec. 11. Payment is to occur Dec. 30.

The announcement of the dividend came just two days after Chapel Hill-based Pozen reported that Horizon Pharma USA would acquire the U.S. rights to Vimovo, an arthritis pain reliever, from AstraZeneca for a one-time upfront payment of $35 million. Vimovo is a Pozen drug.

Under the terms of the deal, Pozen will continue to receive a 10 percent royalty on net sales of Vimovo products sold in the United States, with guaranteed minimum royalty payments of $5 million next year and $7.5 million each year thereafter.

In September, Pozen also signed a licensing agreement with Sanofi that could earn Pozen as much as $35 million in payments. Under the deal, Sanofi will have the exclusive rights to commercialize versions of its experimental cardiovascular treatment. Earlier this year, Pozen applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing approval for the treatment.

Pozen said in a statement announcing the dividend that it “is committed to return as much cash to our stockholders as is prudent.”

Pozen shares closed Wednesday at $7.89, down 1 cent. The stock is up 57 percent this year.