These are busy days at Cornerstone Therapeutics (Nasdaq: CRTX).

The specialty pharmaceutical firm announced a new drug deal, earnings, and the hiring of a former board chairman as its chief financial officer.

On Thursday, Cornerstone said it had struck a deal to acquire U.S. rights to the drug Bethkis, a treatment for cystic fibrosis, from Italy-based Chiesi.

The U.S. FDA approved the drug in October.

Cornerstone is the largest shareholder in Chiesi.

The Cary-based firm will pay Chiesi $1 million up front and a milestone payment of $2.5 million when the first commrecial sale is made. Chiesi also will receive royalties.

“The FDA’s approval of Bethkis and our subsequent licensing agreement with Chiesi is another step forward in the execution of our strategic focus to be a trusted partner to the hospital and related specialty markets,” said Craig Collard, Cornerstone’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

“Bethkis will play an important role in the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis, and we are proud to add this therapy to our growing offering of products. Additionally, this agreement illustrates the strength of our partnership with Chiesi which continues to bring opportunities for growth and added value to our company.”


Also Thursday, Cornerstone reported a big jump in revenues and net income for the third quarter.

Revenues rose to $37.5 million from $25.2 million a year ago. Net income after one-time expenses and other charges rose to $5.6 million, or 19 cents per share, from $3.4 million or 13 cents a year earlier.


On Wednesday, Cornerstone named Alastair McEwan as its chief financial officer.

McEwan is a former chairman of the board at Cornerstone. He also has held a variety of executive positions at several other firms, including board seats at Inveresk Research and Averion International.

Last week, following up on a no confidence vote by an advisory panel, the FDA formally requested more information from Cornerstone about a drug developed to treat low salt levels in blood.