Healthcare Review: Catalyst Pharmaceutical, Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co, Accretive Health, Celgene Corporation Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 27 June 2013 13:40
U.S. stocks climbed on Thursday, putting the S&P 500 on track for a third straight day of gains, after data showed a decline in weekly jobless claims while consumer spending and incomes improved. Investors were heartened also after William Dudley, head of the New York Federal Reserve, said the Fed's asset purchases would be more aggressive than the timeline Chairman Ben Bernanke outlined last week if U.S. economic growth and the labor market turn out weaker than expected. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 9,000 in the week ended June 22 to a seasonally adjusted 346,000. 

Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ:CPRX) shares gained 2.36% to $0.921. The company on June 27 provided an update on its progress with its lead investigational product, FIRDAPSETM.

"Over the past six months, we have made great strides in our advancement of Firdapse for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome (LEMS). We have recently achieved several important milestones in our development plan, and we therefore feel that this is an appropriate time to report our progress to investors and other stakeholders," said Patrick J. McEnany, Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc.

Peregrine Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PPHM) shares declined 20.83% to $1.24. The company, on June 27, provided an update on its bavituximab oncology program including financing activities focused on advancing its lead program into a pivotal Phase III trial and adapting its clinical development plan in accordance with the recent increased understanding of the immune-stimulatory properties of bavituximab. In May, the company reached an agreement with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on a Phase III trial design in second-line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with bavituximab and docetaxel, presented data from its trial supporting this study in early June and is now in the process of initiating the pivotal Phase III trial by year-end.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) shares gained 0.92% to $47.12. BMO Capital Markets reissued their outperform rating on shares of Merck & Co in a research report released on June 24. BMO Capital Markets currently has a $52.00 price objective on the stock, down from their previous price objective of $54.00.

Additionally, the company on June 2 announced the presentation of preliminary results from an ongoing Phase IB expansion study evaluating the safety and efficacy of lambrolizumab (MK-3475), Merck's investigational antibody therapy targeting PD-1, in patients with advanced (inoperable and metastatic) melanoma. The data were presented by Antoni Ribas, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Hematology/Oncology and Surgery, and director of the Tumor Immunology Program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California, Los Angeles, during an oral session at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2013 Annual Meeting in Chicago (Abstract# 9009).

Accretive Health, Inc. (NYSE:AH) stock jumped 0.37% to $10.80. Former United States Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Willie Briscoe, founder of The Briscoe Law Firm, PLLC, and the securities litigation firm of Powers Taylor, LLP on June 26 announce that a federal class action lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of Illinois against Accretive Health, Inc. ("Accretive" or "Company") (NYSE: AH) and several of its officers and directors for their actions during the period of May 20, 2010 to February 26, 2013 (the "Class Period").

Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) shares gained 0.41% to $118.61. MorphoSys AG (FSE: MOR; Prime Standard Segment, TecDAX) and Celgene on June 26 announced an agreement to jointly develop MOR202 globally and to co-promote MOR202 in Europe. MOR202 is a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting CD38 to treat patients with multiple myeloma (MM) and certain leukemias. MOR202 is currently being evaluated in a phase 1/2a trial in patients with relapsed/refractory myeloma. MorphoSys and Celgene will collaborate on the development of MOR202 in multiple myeloma and other indications and share costs on a 1/3:2/3 basis.

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