Healthcare Review: Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Oncolytics Biotech, ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Geron Corporation, ArQule Are Notable Movers Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:00
U.S. stocks fell slightly on Thursday, pulling back from six straight days of gains despite a batch of positive economic releases as "fiscal cliff" negotiations in Washington weighed on sentiment.

Weekly claims for jobless benefits dropped near the lowest level since February 2008 and retail sales rose in November after an October decline, improving the picture for consumer spending.

Following are the notable movers at mid day on Thursday:

Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ:RIGL)
stock plunged 34.82% to $5.50 after AstraZeneca PLC said a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis that it is partnering on with drug developer RIGL failed to meet one of two main goals in a Phase IIb trial. The rheumatoid arthritis treatment, called Fostamatinib, is the most advanced drug in Rigel's development pipeline.

Oncolytics Biotech, Inc. (USA)(NASDAQ:ONCY)
shares soared 54.24% to $3.32 in the morning hour after the company announced initial positive top line data from the first endpoint in its double-blinded randomized Phase III clinical study examining REOLYSIN in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel in second-line patients with platinum-refractory, taxane-naïve head and neck cancers (REO 018). The endpoint examines initial percentage tumour changes between the pre-treatment and first post-treatment scans (typically performed at six weeks post-first treatment) of all patients enrolled in the study.

ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.(NASDAQ:ISIS)
shares climbed 1.99% to $9.75 after the company announced that the United States Food and Drug administration has granted ISIS-TTR(Rx) fast track designation for the treatment of familial amyloid polyneuropathy (FAP). ISIS-TTR(Rx )is an antisense drug in development with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for the treatment of transthyretin (TTR) amyloidosis, a severe and rare genetic disease characterized by progressive dysfunction of peripheral nerve and/or heart tissues.

Additionally, Piper Jaffray reiterated their neutral rating on shares of ISIS and currently has a $10.00 price target on the stock.

Geron Corporation(NASDAQ:GERN)
shares gained 1.41% to $1.44 in the morning hour after the company announced positive clinical results from the Phase 2 trial of imetelstat, the company's first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, in patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET). ET is a chronic blood disorder that is representative of a group of diseases known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs).

The data, which showed rapid and durable hematologic and molecular responses in patients treated with imetelstat, were presented Sunday evening in an oral session at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in Atlanta, GA, by Prof. Dr. med. Gabriela M. Baerlocher of the University Hospital and University of Bern, Switzerland, and a principal investigator of the trial.

ArQule, Inc.(NASDAQ:ARQL)
stock climbed 7.22% to $2.96 after the company announced the commencement of patient dosing in a Phase 1 clinical trial with ARQ 087, an orally bioavailable, potent multi-kinase inhibitor with pan-FGFR (fibroblast growth factor receptor) activity. The primary objective of the Phase 1 trial with ARQ 087 is determine its safety, tolerability and recommended Phase 2 dose.



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