Healthcare Review: BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, WellPoint, Cerus Corporation, Enzon Pharmaceuticals, AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 14:28
The S&P 500 index was little changed Wednesday afternoon as softer-than-anticipated orders for durable goods offset positive earnings from companies including Boeing Co. The Commerce Department figures had bookings for commercial aircraft fall more than 48% in March after leaping over 86% the month before. Boeing said it had orders for 39 planes last month versus 179 booked in February. For every five shares that fell, nine gained on the New York Stock Exchange, where 341 million shares traded as of 2:35 p.m. Eastern. Following are notable movers at mid day on Wednesday:-

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX) shares increased 7.22% to $1.93. The company, on April 16, announced that it has completed its Type C meeting regarding intravenous (i.v.) peramivir with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and has received final meeting minutes. The minutes of the meeting were consistent with the FDA's preliminary comment letter, which was previously referenced in the Company's press release of April 1, 2013. In addition, the meeting minutes confirmed that BioCryst's proposed peramivir New Drug Application (NDA) content supports a reviewable NDA submission for the indication of acute uncomplicated influenza.

Additionally, the company announced that its first quarter 2013 financial results will be released on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE:WLP) shares climbed 5.88% to $73.41. The company on April 24 posted first-quarter earnings rose 3.4% as higher consumer-business revenue helped offset weakness in its commercial business.

The company reported a profit of $885.2 million, or $2.89 a share, up from $856.5 million, or $2.53 a share, a year earlier. Excluding gains on investments, impairment losses and other items, adjusted earnings rose to $2.94 a share from $2.34. Total operating revenue jumped 16% to $17.55 billion. Analysts had most recently forecast earnings of $2.38 a share on revenue of $18.03 billion.

Cerus Corporation (NASDAQ:CERS) stock jumped 5.47% to $5.21. The company, on April 24, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted its proposed modular Premarket Approval (PMA) application shell for review of the INTERCEPT Blood System for platelets. A PMA shell is an outline of the application process that defines the structure, content and timing of each module. FDA and the applicant need to agree on a shell prior to initiation of a modular PMA submission.

Additionally, the company announced that its first quarter results will be released on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, after the close of the stock market.

Enzon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ENZN) shares dropped 11.36% to $3.39 in the early hour. The company on April 23 announced that it has concluded a thorough review of the possible sale or disposition of one or more corporate assets, or a sale of the Company, and that its Board of Directors has approved a $1.60 special dividend per share and intends to distribute excess cash, expected to arise from ongoing royalty revenues, in the form of periodic dividends to shareholders. The record date of the special dividend will be May 7, 2013, and the payment date will be June 4, 2013. Furthermore, the Company has minimized expenses and will look to maximize the return of royalty revenues to shareholders going forward.

AcelRx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ACRX) shares declined 0.41% to $6.12 in the morning hour. The company on April 24 announced top-line results demonstrating that a placebo-controlled, dose-finding, Phase 2 study of its investigational single-dose sublingual sufentanil NanoTab for acute pain, ARX-04, successfully met its primary endpoint.  Results demonstrated that patients receiving 30 mcg sufentanil NanoTab doses, administered by a healthcare professional, no more frequently than once per hour, had significantly greater pain reduction as measured by Summed Pain Intensity Difference to baseline during the 12-hour study period (SPID-12) than placebo-treated patients (p=0.003). 


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