Healthcare Review: Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Ziopharm Oncology, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Baxter, Amarin Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Thursday, 17 October 2013 13:29
U.S. stocks rose on Thursday as investors assessed the ramifications of an agreement by lawmakers in Washington to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and end the partial shutdown of the government, but a decline in IBM pulled the Dow lower. Congress on Wednesday approved an 11th-hour deal to end a partial government shutdown and pull the world's biggest economy back from the edge of default that could have brought about financial calamity. The political wrangling has led some investors to believe the U.S. Federal Reserve will have no choice but to leave its fiscal stimulus measures in place for at least several months as the damage caused to the economy becomes apparent.

Strength in shares of Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA) has held up well throughout the session.From the JPMorgan note which sparked the rally: "The majority of docs we surveyed who have used Iclusig do not expect their use to change over the next 6-12 months somewhat surprisingly, there were more docs who expect to increase their use of the drug vs. docs who expect use to decrease."As noted earlier, this would seem to suggest that investor concern over a recent FDA drug safety communication may be overblown.

Shares of Ziopharm Oncology ($ZIOP) are trading sharply higher on the session.Earlier, the company announced that it, along with Intrexon (XON +0.1%), will present at the International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics this month.The poster presentations will highlight ZIOP's "monogenic system which enables the controlled delivery of therapeutic interleukin-12, in a brain tumor model," as well as other pipeline programs.

Shares of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals ($KERX) are up sharply again today, after surging nearly 20% Wednesday. The two-day rally now totals some 30%.Behind the move: A pair of upbeat analyst notes and generalized optimism for Zerenex. Zerenex abstracts have been selected for oral and poster presentations at ASN early next month.

Shares of Baxter ($BAX) slip 3.8% in premarket trading as investors digest the company's quarter.Revenue of $3.8B is a 9% improvement from last year's quarter, although the top line fell slightly short of Street estimates (around 3% of the Y/Y growth is attributable to the Gambro acquisition).U.S. sales rose 9%, as did international sales."Improved" demand for Advante and Feiba drove a 6% Y/Y increase in BioScience revenues

Amarin ($AMRN) shares collapse 60% to $2.07 after an FDA panel voted 9-2 against recommending expanding the approval of the company's triglyceride Vascepa drug.Jefferies analyst Thomas Wei has cut his price target on Amarin to $4 from $20, but maintained a Buy rating."We see a financing overhang, reduced partnership potential, and a delay to data," Wei said. "We...will revisit our rating based on today's trading and as the company's financing strategy becomes available."



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