Healthcare Review: Bio-Rad Laboratories, Ampio Pharmaceuticals, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, MAKO Surgical, Zogenix Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:44
U.S. stocks rose 1 percent on Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke remained steadfast in his support of the Fed's stimulus policy and data pointed to economic improvement. In his second day before a congressional committee, Bernanke repeated testimony in which he defended the Fed's policy of buying bonds to keep interest rates low in order to promote growth and bring down the unemployment rate. Adding to the positive tone was economic data which showed a gauge of planned U.S. business spending in January recorded its largest increase in just over a year and contracts to buy new homes neared a three-year high last month. Following are notable movers at mid day on Wednesday:

Shares of Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BIO) move higher today by 5% after a solid Q4 earnings beat. Total sales rose 4.3% Y/Y, which was offset somewhat by a decline in gross margin to 55.9% from 56.5%. Sidoti upgrades the stock to Buy on the back of the upbeat report, while Jefferies ups its price target to $140 from $124 on higher cash flow forecasts.

Ampio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMPE) trades up 4% after announcing its begun dosing the first patient in its clinical trial of Optina, a treatment for diabetic macular edema. The trial will evaluate the drug in adults with recent onset of the disease. Last year, the FDA granted Optina 505(b)(2) status. Drugs under this designated pathway can be approved on a single trial.

Shares of MAKO Surgical Corp. (NASDAQ:MAKO) surge 10% despite a Q4 miss late yesterday, as the company forecasts higher sales of its RIO systems in the coming year with a corresponding 24% to 42% jump in surgical procedures.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) regains some yesterday's decline after the company was featured in a pessimistic article in Seeking Alpha. The stock actually began its fall on Monday, but was exacerbated yesterday by the SA piece by contributor Robert Schwartz, who noted that PPHM's lead drug candidate, bavituximab, has had twelve Phase-I/-II studies and treated 613 cancer patients but has yet to observe a statistically significant improvement over a contemporary standard-of-care. Schwartz thinks its time to throw in the towel.

Zogenix, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZGNX) continues to surge higher this morning on the news of the FDA decision to push back its PDUFA date for Zohydro. Analysts see the delay as a potential positive, as it's likely to be short-lived and the odds for eventual approval are still high. Wells Fargo's Michael Tong sees just 20% downside on a negative FDA decision but potentially 100%+ upside for the stock if given the green light.




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