Healthcare Review: Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Acura Pharmaceuticals, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Biogen Idec, VIVUS Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 01 July 2013 12:44
US stocks have begun the second half of the year higher, helped by a rebound in Asian markets, as a surge in Japanese business confidence offset weak Chinese manufacturing data. US stocks were also strengthened by a jump back into positive territory of the ISM purchasing managers index for the manufacturing sector, rising to 50.9 in June.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:THLD) shares climbed 3.23% to $5.42. The company on July 1 announced a protocol amendment to the company's pivotal Phase 3 trial of TH-302, an investigational hypoxia-targeted drug, in patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma or STS.

The company noted that the changes to the protocol are based on new assumptions related to the performance of current standard of care in STS, as well as a higher than anticipated rate of enrollment, and are intended to strengthen the ability of the study to detect a clinically meaningful and statistically significant effect of TH-302 on overall survival.

Acura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ACUR) shares increased 26.54% to $2.38. The company on July 1 said that Pfizer Inc. ( PFE ) will expand commercialization of a pain drug that uses the specialty pharmaceutical company's tamper-resistant technology to health-care providers in the fourth quarter of 2013. Acura has exclusively licensed its Aversion technology to Pfizer in the U.S., Canada and Mexico for use in Oxecta, an immediate-release oxycodone with a tamper-resistant design that inhibits recreational use of the drug.

Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ONXX) shares soared 51.22% to $131.34. The company on June 30 confirmed that it has received and rejected an unsolicited proposal from Amgen Inc. to acquire all of Onyx's outstanding shares and share equivalents for $120 per share in cash, subject to due diligence and other conditions. The Board of Directors of Onyx had evaluated the proposal made by Amgen with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors and concluded that the price proposed by Amgen significantly undervalued Onyx and its prospects, and was not in the best interest of Onyx or its shareholders. Onyx communicated this determination to Amgen on Friday, June 28, 2013.

Biogen Idec Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) shares gained 1.98% to $219.47. BIIB’s stock BIIB) was upgraded by Citigrooup from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note issued on June 28.

Additionally, the company was scheduled to showcase new data from a number of development and early-stage research programs at the XXIV International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) Congress. Researchers will present 33 abstracts on clinical and pre-clinical research in hemophilia, the breadth of which reflects the company's commitment to innovation and the scientific advancement of hemophilia treatment and care. The ISTH Congress will be held June 29 through July 4 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) shares gained 2.23% to $12.86. The company on July 1 announced the initial availability of Qsymia® (phentermine and topiramate extended-release) capsules CIV in thousands of certified retail pharmacies, ahead of the previously-stated mid-July 2013 schedule. Qsymia, a prescription-only medication, is initially available as of today in approximately 8,000 Walgreens, Costco and Duane Reade retail pharmacies nationwide. VIVUS will continue to certify and add to the Qsymia retail pharmacy network, including well-known national and regional chains as well as independent pharmacies, in the coming weeks and months.




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