Healthcare Review: Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, HMS Holdings, , CEL-SCI Corp, Depomed, Intercept Pharmaceuticals Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Monday, 14 April 2014 13:14
Stocks rebounded on Monday after a bigger-than-expected rise in March retail sales offered a sign that economic growth was on better footing following a difficult winter. Investors, meanwhile, were encouraged by strong earnings from banking giant Citigroup. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 110 points, or 0.7%, to 16138. The S&P 500 index advanced 14 points, or 0.8%, to 1830. The Nasdaq NDAQ -0.35% Composite Index advanced 35 points, or 0.9%, to 4035.

Recent IPO Dicerna Pharmaceuticals ($DRNA) demonstrates the value of timing by virtue of its strong debut on January 30. Priced at $15, the new issue gapped up at the open and peaked at $46 on turnover of ~4M shares. Shortly thereafter, money flow in the biotech sector turned decidedly negative. DRNA trades today at ~$18.25, down 60% from its opening day high. The development stage firm's technology is RNA interference. Its lead products are DCR-M1711 for MYC oncogene-related cancers and DCR-PH1 for primary hyperoxaluria. A Phase 1 clinical trial will start this year for M1711 but won't begin until 2015 for PH1.

Shares of HMS Holdings ($HMSY) continue their southward march today on higher volume. Prices are down almost 60% from the August 15, 2012 peak of $37.19.Quarterly sales and earnings growth have been in a general decline for a year.393 mutual funds have positions, down from 434 a year earlier. In spite of the bearish behavior, six of nine analysts (Yahoo Finance) rate the stock at least Buy. Three rate it Hold.

Expecting gross proceeds of $10M, CEL-SCI Corp. ($CVM) prices its best efforts public offering at $1.40/unit. Each unit consists of one share of common stock plus 0.25 warrant to purchase one share of common. The warrants expire on October 17, 2014 and are immediately exercisable at $1.58.Closing date is April 17.

Depomed ($DEPO) settles with two of three defendants in the Gralise (gabapentin) patent infringement litigation. Incepta Pharmaceuticals and Zydus Pharmaceuticals may market generic versions of the 300 mg and 600 mg tablets on January 1, 2024 or earlier contingent on certain circumstances. Litigation continues with the third defendant Actavis (ACT).

Intercept Pharmaceuticals' ($ICPT) obeticholic acid achieves its primary endpoint of reducing serum alkaline phosphatase, holding it to less than 1.67x the upper limit of normal and maintaining bilirubin within normal limits in a late-stage clinical trial for patients with primary biliary cirrhosis. According the lead investigator a reduction in alkaline phosphatase is the best prognostic factor for survival. The results of the 217-patient Phase 3 study (Poise clinical trial) were presented in London recently at the European Association of the Study of the Liver. The once-per-day pill is being evaluated for the use in patients who fail to respond to ursodeoxycholic acid.


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