Healthcare Review: Omeros, Amarin, Arrowhead Research, DARA BioSciences, Cancer Genetics Print
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:31
U.S. stocks barely moved on Wednesday, a day after the S&P 500 hit a new all-time high, as investors shrugged off soft data on jobs and the services sector while keeping an eye on developments in Ukraine. The market showed little reaction to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which said severe weather across much of the United States took a toll on shopping and consumer spending in recent weeks. That led to slower economic growth or output in some areas of the country, according to the Fed's report of anecdotal information on the U.S. economy. U.S. private-sector employers added fewer workers than expected in February while the services sector continued to grow, albeit at a slower pace. A harsh winter has allowed traders to dismiss what appears to be a soft patch of data, making the market susceptible to a large pullback if the trend of weakness in data continues.

Omeros ($OMER) closes a new credit facility with Oxford Finance and MidCap Financial for $32M. The company will pay interest only through March 2015. Thereafter, principal and interest will due through the March 2018 maturity date.$19.4M of the loan will pay off Omeros' current debt with Oxford. The remaining $12.6M will be used for general corporate purposes. Consensus revenue target for this year is $1.6M, but ramps up to $29M in 2015.103 mutual funds hold positions, up from 93 a year ago.

Amarin ($AMRN) sues Omthera Pharmaceuticals, now part of AstraZeneca (AZN), claiming its cholesterol-lowering drug, Epanova, infringes on one of Vascepa's patents. Epanova's target user population is the same as Vascepa's and GSK's Lovaza. AZN expects the FDA to rule on Epanova's NDA by May 5.

Investors like the news that Arrowhead Research ($ARWR +19.8%) has received regulatory approval from the Hong Kong Department of Health to begin a phase 2a clinical trial for ARC-520, its RNAi-based drug for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) infection. The phase 2 trial will be conducted at two local hospitals involving two cohorts at two dose levels. The purpose of the study is to determine the depth and duration of hepatitis B surface antigen ((HBsAg)) reduction after a single IV dose of ARC-520 in combination with entecavir in patients with chronic HBV infection. Secondary measures are safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic measures. All four analysts covering the stock rate it as BUY.

Nano cap DARA BioSciences ($DARA) inks a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program Reimbursement Agreement with Comprehensive Health Management providing formulary status with the WellCare (WCG) group of companies for Soltamox (tamoxifen citrate). Soltamox, a liquid form of tamoxifen, is used for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. WellCare is a leading provider of government-sponsored heathcare programs for more than 2.8M members. Its network includes 15 Medicare Part D insurers, 222,000 contract providers and 67,000 contract pharmacies.

Nano cap Cancer Genetics' ($CGIX) microarray kidney cancer test delivers impressive results in a collaborative study of 188 samples with the Cleveland Clinic. The test demonstrated a sensitivity of 93% and specificity of 99%.The company currently offers the test as a service (lab developed test or LDT).The test is performed on kidney, either paraffin-embedded or fine needle aspirate requiring only 2 micrograms of tissue.

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