If your pharmaceutical company sells a product or is developing a drug for use in hospitals, Cornerstone Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CRTX) CEO Craig Collard wants to talk to you.

Cornerstone finished 2011 with $74 million in cash on hand. Looking ahead to 2012, the company plans to spend it on acquisitions. The pharmaceutical company has shaped its drug portfolio through acquisitions and licensing deals, and Collard said Cornerstone will use its cash to pursue more products that have a hospital focus. On a conference call to discuss 2011 financial results, Collard suggested another deal is imminent.

“I think very soon you’ll see something happen” he said.

Last summer, Collard announced a new strategy for the Cary, North Carolina-based Cornerstone that would shift the company away from its anti-infectives business, which is vulnerable to generic competition, and focus instead on selling hospital-based products that are lucrative and also resistant to generic pressures. At that time, Cornerstone had $86 million in cash and Collard said the company was in the hunt for products and companies that would fit the hospital products strategy.

Cornerstone secured a company and a product late last year with its acquisition of Cardiokine Biopharma, a company whose lead drug candidate lixivaptan has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for review as a treatment for hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels of the blood are abnormally low. The condition is commonly diagnosed in patients with heart failure. As part of Cornerstone’s new hospital focus, the company this week divested rights to two anti-infective treatments, which are primary care products not sold in hospitals.

Cornerstone still has plenty of cash after the Cardiokine acquisition because the deal is heavily laden with milestones. The payoff for Cardiokine shareholders will come upon regulatory and sales milestones for lixivaptan, also called CTRX 080. But if Cornerstone’s investors are wary, it might be because Collard has raised expectations before. In the third quarter, Collard said FDA approval was forthcoming on CRTX 067. The compound is a generic version of UCB’s Tussionex, a $220 million-a-year cough-and-cold drug. Collard said approval would come by the start of the winter cold season. The peak cold season has passed and Collard now says that after some back and forth discussion with the FDA, drug approval is near. But when that approval comes, CRTX 067 will still trail generic versions of Tussionex launched by Par Pharmaceuticals and UCB.

Cornerstone will also face new competitive pressure on its lead product Curosurf, a treatment for respiratory distress in infants. The drug is a hospital-based product, but it will soon go up against a product from Discovery Labs (NASDAQ:DSCO), who this week received approval on neonatal respiratory treatment Surfaxin.

Analyst Matt Kaplan of Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. asked how Cornerstone would match up against the Discovery Labs product. Collard said Curosurf was added to 100 hospitals in 2011, a record for the product. He added that growing discussion about these surfactant products helps all companies in this market. The drugs, he said are underpriced considering that they are lifesaving therapies.

Curosurf is Cornerstone’s top-selling product with $34.8 million in 2011 sales. But Cornerstone’s sales growth won’t come from simply building the list of hospitals that use Curosurf. Cornerstone wants to sell more drugs to the hospitals where it is already selling. An FDA approval decision on CRTX 080 could come in the fourth quarter, which will give Cornerstone’s sales staff another product to offer hospitals when they pitch Curosurf. If Cornerstone’s $74 million in cash reels in one or more hospital-based drugs, Cornerstone will be able to offer an even wider range of products to a wider range of hospitals.

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