Healthcare Review: BioCryst, Enanta, Osiris Therapeutics, Omeros, Questcor Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 14:41
U.S. stocks rose after the Federal Reserve said it will begin reducing the pace of its monthly bond purchases, as investors focused on its forecast that joblessness will decrease and its pledge to hold interest rates near zero. The S&P 500 (SPX) added 0.9 percent to 1,796.89 at 2:36 p.m. in New York. The gauge fell as much as 0.7 percent in the minutes following the Fed announcement. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 175.28 points, or 1.1 percent, to 16,050.54. Trading in S&P 500 stocks was 35 percent above the 30-day average at this time of day.

Wells Fargo is out with an upbeat note on BioCryst ($BCRX) following news the company has advanced two new plasma kallikrein inhibitors into preclinicals. "While the second generation compounds are still at an early preclinical stage, PK profiles of the compounds look promising, suggesting that they could potentially further improve upon '4161's profile (and IP) and help the long-term life cycle management of the company's potential HAE franchise," analyst Brian Abrahams notes.

Shares of Enanta ($ENTA) are getting hit hard in morning trading. Likely behind the move is upbeat data from GILD regarding impressive SVR12 rates from Phase 3 studies of a sofosbuvir/ledipasvir combo in GT1 HCV. ENTA discovered ABT-450, one of the compounds in ABBV's 3D GT1 HCV regimen.

Osiris Therapeutics ($OSIR) announces the publication of data which shows Grafix's overall healing rate in recalcitrant wounds was 76% in a study of 66 patients. The company calls the results "a nice compliment to [the] multi-center, randomized, controlled trial in DFUs, which showed that Grafix had overwhelming efficacy with a relative effect of 191% when compared to control treatment."

Omeros ($OMER) jumps 9% after the FDA has granted an Orphan designation for OMS721 (the company's lead human monoclonal antibody targeting mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease-2) for the prevention of TMAs. Phase 2 study set to begin in Q1 2014.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals ($QCOR) shares fall after Retrophin (RTRX) fires a shot across Achtar's bow, announcing that it is developing a synthetic ACTH analog candidate called RE-034.Retrophin intends to file an Investigational New Drug application and initiate a Phase I trial in 1H 2014. It then plans to initiate Phase III trials of RE-034 for the treatment of infantile spasms and nephrotic syndrome, both of which are use cases of Achtar. CEO Martin Shkreli: "our synthetic ACTH can potentially bring relief to the high cost burden associated with the currently available animal-derived formulation in the U.S." Short seller Citron Research has targeted Questcor in the past on issues of pricing and substitution, stating that Synacthen (the rights for which Questcor recently acquired) is a synthetic equivalent of Achtar that has been prescribed in Europe for over a decade "at 1/1000th the price."

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