Healthcare Review: Insmed, NeuroMetrix, Insulet, Arena Pharmaceuticals, XenoPort Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 15 October 2013 14:15
U.S. stocks were down on Tuesday in light trading as prospects for an agreement to end the U.S. government's fiscal impasse shifted from bright to dim during the day. Policymakers in Washington have until Thursday to agree to extend the $16.7 trillion U.S. borrowing limit or the country will risk a debt default. The White House and Senate rejected the House's latest offer. The uncertainty over how and when a deal will be reached kept investors from making big bets. Total U.S. market volume was 3.2 billion shares, lower than average.

Insmed ($INSM) rallies after saying it has completed enrollment in a Phase 2 Arikace study for NTM patients. The company also says it has commenced the SAWP process with the EMA and will discuss Arikace and NTM with the agency in Q4.Due to the challenge associated with enrolling patients who have had six months of ATS/IDSA guideline therapy, "completing enrollment ... is a major accomplishment," the company notes.

NeuroMetrix ($NURO) jumps after announcing that OsteoArthritis Centers of America will "incorporate the Sensus Pain Management System into its affiliated medical clinics. "The deal makes the system available in more than 100 clinics which are affiliates of OsteoArthritis Centers of America parent Rehabilitation Management Group. (PR)Recall that the Sensus System was the first transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator to receive 501(k) clearance for use during sleep.

Benchmark sees a 22% upside for shares of Insulet ($PODD) as analyst Jan Wald says an active third manufacturing line will likely alleviate tight OmniPod inventory. "We believe that greater customer retention, better market penetration as evidenced by new prescribers and improved margins from the new OmniPod insulin pump should drive upside in the shares," Wald adds. Shares initiated at Buy, price target is $44.

Arena Pharmaceuticals ($ARNA) says Belviq marketing partner Eisai (ESALF.PK) is set to double the size of its sales force for the weight-loss drug by December. The move will "will enable Eisai to reach approximately 65K physicians in the U.S.," ARNA notes. Eisai says the expansion "demonstrates the success ... gained in discussing the [drug's] potential value within the payor community, and the subsequent agreements ... reached with many ... payor partners."

Shares of XenoPort ($XNPT) soar 9% as Clinton Group (one of the company's largest shareholders) sends a letter to CEO Ronald Barrett. XNPT's "assets are worth substantially more than the stock price implies," the investment manager writes, putting fair value for the common stock at $13-16/share.Clinton Group is "extremely enthusiastic" about the prospects for XP23829, which Clinton's president Gregory Taxin thinks can challenge Biogen's (BIIB) MS drug Tecfidera. "It appears to us that 829 is poised to follow in the footsteps of other 'second generation' biotechnology blockbusters that, even with just small improvements in efficacy, dosing or side effects, have proven to be substantial clinical and commercial successes," Taxin says.


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