Healthcare Review: Illumina, Galena Biopharma, Keryx Biopharma, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, ArQule Print
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 17 January 2014 14:23
U.S. stocks fluctuated, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell from a record, as investors assessed corporate earnings and stimulus prospects. The dollar rose to four-month high and European shares closed at a six-year best. The S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent at 1:38 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDU) gained 0.4 percent, as American Express Co. rallied. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index added 0.3 percent, the highest since September. The yield on 10-year Treasuries dropped to the lowest in almost a month. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.6 percent. Portugal’s February 2016 note yield fell eight basis points to 2.35 percent after S&P removed the nation’s rating from “creditwatch.” Oil rose to a two-week high in New York.

Illumina ($ILMN) rises to new 52-week highs after unveiling a strategic roadmap for market expansion after the bell yesterday, capping a week filled with positive announcements. ILMN is enjoying some analyst love: J.P. Morgan adds the stock to its Focus List and raises its target price to $190 from $120 with little to derail momentum and estimates that remain conservative, and BAML ups its target to $165 from $125.The sell-side excitement is "the type of stuff that could make for a nice multi-day or multi-week hold," Notable Calls remarks.

Galena Biopharma ($GALE) opens with a thud after Jim Cramer suggests investors take profits after shares more than tripled during the past three months. Cramer questioned CEO Dr. Mark Ahn about the history of failures for drugs similar to NeuVax, GALE's lead clinical candidate, saying he was skeptical about the drug's chances for approval. In response to criticisms, Ahn says "of the patients in the Phase II study of NeuVax, 0% of those patients had a recurrence of cancer."

Keryx Biopharma ($KERX) +8.3% on news that its Japanese partner, Japan Tobacco, has received marketing approval for ferric citrate from the Japanese Ministry of Health. Ferric citrate, to be marketed in Japan under the brand name Riona, is indicated as an oral treatment for the improvement of hyperphosphatemia in patients with chronic kidney disease, including dialysis and non-dialysis dependent CKD. KERX will receive $10M for the marketing approval milestone and double-digit tiered royalties, plus up to an additional $55M upon certain annual net sales milestones.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals ($ARIA) +9% after announcing the commercial availability of Iclusig for adult patients with refractory chronic myeloid leukemia and Philadelphia-chromosome positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the U.S.ARIA has begun shipping Iclusig to Biologics, its exclusive specialty pharmacy, which is now filling prescriptions from physicians and distributing the cancer medicine to patients.

The DMC of ArQule's ($ARQL) Phase III METIV-HCC trial in hepatocellular carcinoma recommends the continuation of the trial following a review of the data. The data analyses among patients treated with 120 mg BID tivantinib tablets showed a reduced incidence of neutropenia. Analyses also demonstrated that plasma exposure of the lower dose was comparable to that achieved with the 240 mg capsules employed in the Phase II trial.

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