Healthcare Review: Questcor Pharmaceuticals, ImmunoGen, Cell Therapeutics, EntreMed, Threshold Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 21 October 2013 13:42
U.S. stocks were little changed on Monday as investors looked to earnings to justify the market's recent rise to an all-time high. The Dow was lower after McDonald's Corp fell following a weak fourth-quarter outlook, while Apple Inc rallied after a positive brokerage report, helping the Nasdaq. Though only a small percentage of S&P 500 stocks have reported earnings thus far, the season has been mixed, with revenue growth especially a concern. Still, profits have largely risen and many bellwether companies have topped expectations.

Shares of Questcor Pharmaceuticals ($QCOR) open lower by 2%.Over the weekend, Barron's — long skeptical of QCOR — questioned the relationship between the company and the Chronic Disease Fund. Bill Alpert asks whether the two are "too close for comfort" and says the charity's help with co-pays is a major reason QCOR has been able to help patients obtain Acthar. "The co-pay arrangement with the CDF carries its own risk," Alpert writes, adding that "eight of the 37 disease states for which the CDF Website says it is enrolling patients are diseases for which Acthar is the only drug on the charity's list of approved therapies—even though branded and generic alternatives for those diseases are on the market."

ImmunoGen ($IMGN) says interim data show the TAP compound SAR566658 is "generally well tolerated and can induce objective responses and sustained stable disease in heavily pretreated patients with CA6-positive cancers."SAR566658 is licensed preclinically to Sanofi.

Cell Therapeutics ($CTIC) says a preclinical study suggests Pixuvri's "mechanism of inducing tumor cell death is novel and distinct from that of anthracyclines such as doxorubicin. "Here's Dr. Neil Beeharry putting it In simpler terms: "The study results suggest that Pixuvri ... is the first approved drug in a new class of anti-cancer agents. "Pixuvri is approved in the EU for the treatment of adult patients with multiply relapsed or refractory aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

EntreMed ($ENMD) says preclinical data show ENMD-2076 demonstrates "robust anticancer activity in both p53 mutated and p53 wild type cell lines."The company is running preclinical studies on the drug to "better understand ... its mechanism of actions [and] predictive biomarkers," while conducting Phase 2 trials in TNBC and advanced/metastatic soft tissue sarcoma.

Threshold Pharmaceuticals' ($THLD) TH-302 performed well in combination with antiangiogenic agents, which inhibit the growth of new blood vessels, in two Phase I studies. In one trial, TH-302 was used with GSK's (GSK) Votrient for treating advanced solid tumors, achieving a clinical benefit rate of 76% (partial response rate of 12% plus a stable disease rate of 64%).In another study, TH-302 brought partial responses when used with Pfizer's (PFE) Sutent in patients with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

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