Healthcare Review: Prana Biotechnology, VIVUS, TrovaGene Inc, Dendreon Corporation, Merck & Co Print E-mail
By Mary Davila   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 15:17
U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday as investors fretted that a deal on the U.S. budget wouldn't come as soon as they had hoped after President Barack Obama threatened to veto a controversial Republican plan.

The market barely reacted to a round of strong data, including an upward revision of gross domestic product growth and stronger-than-expected home sales, suggesting talks to avert the "fiscal cliff," steep tax hikes and spending cuts due in 2013, remain the primary focus for markets.

Following are the notable movers at amid day on Thursday:

Prana Biotechnology Limited (ADR) (NASDAQ:PRAN)
shares gained 3.12% to $2.25 in the morning hour. The company announced that it has completed recruitment in the Reach2HD Phase IIa clinical trial using PBT2 in patients with Huntington Disease (HD).

The 6 month double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II trial in patients with early to mid-stage Huntington Disease met its enrolment target of 100 patients ahead of schedule. Additional patients may be included in the trial, subject to final procedures this week.

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS)
shares gained 0.59% to $13.73. The company said its obesity drug Qsymia will now be covered by the largest U.S. pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts Holding Co, giving more people access to the drug and reducing costs for patients. The drug is currently available only through mail-order pharmacies for an average retail price of $160.

TrovaGene Inc. (NASDAQ:TROV)
stock jumped 8.54% to $7.50 after the company announced it has granted Genoptix, Inc. (a Novartis Group Company) a worldwide, non-exclusive license to incorporate nucleophosmin protein (NPM1) into research and clinical testing services for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Trovagene holds an exclusive worldwide license to US patent 8,222,370 and the corresponding group of U.S. and foreign patent applications around NPM1. Terms of the agreement include upfront fees and royalty payments. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

Dendreon Corporation (NASDAQ:DNDN)
shares dropped 0.19% to $5.33 in the early hour . The company announced the sale of its immunotherapy manufacturing facility (IMF) based in Morris Plains, New Jersey, to Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation for $43 million in cash. Dendreon's Morris Plains, New Jersey, facility is a 173,100 square foot state-of-the-art IMF, featuring revolutionary capabilities to manufacture PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T), the first autologous cellular immunotherapy to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)
shares fell 2.52% to $42.56. The company announced that the HPS2-THRIVE study of TREDAPTIVE did not meet its primary endpoint. Merck and the investigators are informing regulatory agencies of the results. Based on the current understanding of these new data and until further analyses can be completed, Merck is recommending that providers not start new patients on TREDAPTIVE.



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