Healthcare Review: Omeros, Eli Lilly, ISIS Pharmaceuticals, Illumina, Gentiva Health Services Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 19 September 2013 13:19
U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday, with the S&P 500 hitting a new intraday record high, a day after the Federal Reserve surprised markets by keeping its stimulus measures intact. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 14.1 points, or 0.09 percent, to 15,691.04, the S&P 500 gained 4.25 points, or 0.25 percent, to 1,729.77 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14.4 points, or 0.38 percent, to 3,798.088.

Omeros ($OMER) is still riding high from Monday's Wedbush OMS302 call — initiates enrollment in a Phase 2 trial of the PDE10 inhibitor OMS824 in patients with stable schizophrenia. The trial will "evaluate ... tolerability, safety, pharmacokinetics, [and] potential interactions with concomitant antipsychotic medications. "Findings will help determine "appropriate dosing regimens and endpoints" for planned Phase 2 and 3 studies.

Eli Lilly ($LLY) inks a collaboration deal with molecular diagnostic test maker Exosome Diagnostics for "biomarker discovery and validation" using Exosome's EXO50 nucleic acid extraction kit. The idea is for LLY to get a head start on the identification of gene mutations that might be connected to "drug response and disease recurrence. "Financial terms weren't disclosed.

ISIS Pharmaceuticals ($ISIS) is out with some additional data from a Phase 1 study of the antisense drug ISIS-SMNRx in spinal muscular atrophy. The follow-up prelim data show "most children" that got the 6 and 9 mg doses continued to demonstrate improvement in tests of muscle function at up to 14 months. HFMSE score improvement was dose dependent, with the 9 mg cohort doing the best and no children exhibiting declining scores.

Illumina's ($ILMN) Verinata Health publishes peer-reviewed verifi data which the company says "validates [its] approach to non-invasive prenatal testing.” The data show verifi correctly detected aneuploidies (that's a chromosome abnormality) "across all test samples." Verinata says this shows testing "based on deeper sequencing delivers highly accurate results regardless of the variation in fetal fraction."

Gentiva Health Services ($GTIV) will acquire Harden Healthcare's home health, hospice, and community care businesses for ~$408.8M ($355M in cash and $53.8M in stock).The cash portion will be funded by "available cash and a new $855M term loan facility" which the company is raising to complete the deal and refinance existing term loans. After the purchase, GTIV's revenue will be 49% home health, 41% hospice, and 10% community care.

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