Healthcare Review: Synta Pharmaceuticals, Catalyst Pharmaceutical, Novavax, Cell Therapeutics, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Print
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 18 November 2013 14:48
The Dow and the S&P 500 stalled after hitting record highs on Monday as investors kept their focus on economic stimulus prospects from the Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 briefly broke above 1,800 for the first time in history, while the Dow managed to climb above 16,000, which was a first for the blue-chip average. The Nasdaq Composite approached 4,000, a level it hasn't seen since September 2000. The round numbers on major levels could provide some technical resistance at first, but clearing them could prompt more buying from investors and managers eager to chase performance.

Synta Pharmaceuticals ($SNTA) posts double-digit gains in morning trading. More than 2.3M shares have already traded hands versus a 10-day average of 1.8M.The company closed a 16.1M share public offering (including 2.1M shares to underwriters) at $3.75/share for gross proceeds of $60.4M.

Catalyst Pharmaceutical ($CPRX) soars after announcing that Epilepsia has accepted a paper demonstrating proof of concept of the GABA aminotransferase inhibitor CP-115 in IS. The paper's author is a principal investigator in the CP-115 preclinical study (rodents). CPRX also says it expects to initiate a Phase 1 study in H1 2014 to evaluate safety and tolerability.

Novavax's ($NVAX) RSV vaccine is "under-appreciated," FBR says, adding that the company's pandemic vaccine program is "even less well appreciated." The new note largely echoes similar research out last month, but analyst William Tanner's language regarding the company's pandemic program looks a bit more upbeat. "Investors should ignore the program no more," Tanner says, adding that "contrary to the belief that [recent AH7N9] data had already been released, they were, in fact, a new disclosure." NVAX is rated Outperform. Price target remains $11.

Cell Therapeutics ($CTIC) expects to spend $96M through mid-2017 on the development and commercialization of its Pacritinib treatment for myelofibrosis and acute myeloid leukemia. Cell Therapeutics expects to receive $67M from Baxter (BAX) in milestones until 2015 as part of a licensing agreement for Pacritinib, with further payments possible after that. Cell Therapeutics is also receiving a $60M upfront payment from Baxter. Cell Therapeutics reckons that it should receive enough money to avoid have to raise more equity financing. Cell Therapeutics and Baxter have been boosted by the failure of Sanofi's ($SNY) Fedratinib treatment for myelofibrosis.  Incyte (INCY) also develops a treatment for the rare bone-marrow cancer.

Over the weekend, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ($ALNY) announced the presentation of pre-clinical ALN-PCSsc and ALN-ANG data. ALN-PCSsc: Sub-q administration led to "an up to 95% knockdown of plasma PCSK9 and an up to 67% reduction of low density LDL-C in the absence of statin co-administration" (NHP model).ALN-ANG: "A greater than 95% reduction of triglycerides and greater than 85% reduction of LDL-C" (rodent model of mixed hyperlipidemia).

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