Healthcare Review: Verde Media Group, Apricus Biosciences, Zalicus, Quintiles Transnational, ConMed Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Wednesday, 16 April 2014 12:37
U.S. stocks gained broadly on Wednesday, as rising hopes of economic stimulus from Asia helped boost investor confidence. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 125 points, or 0.8%, to 16387. The S&P 500 index advanced 15 points, or 0.8%, to 1858, with all 10 sectors higher. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 44 points, or 1.1%, to 4079, with its rise bolstered by gains in social-media and biotechnology stocks. The Nasdaq Biotechnology Index rose 2.4%. On Tuesday, stocks ended a roller-coaster session broadly higher. The Dow closed up 89 points to post the best two-day point gain since March 18.

Television producer Verde Media Group ($VMGI) creates a Biotech Division to capitalize on the legalized cannabis movement. The division will develop platform technologies for extracting highly purified THC and cannabidiol (CBD) and their use in various delivery systems such as sublingual, inhaled and blended with food products. The Biotech Division subsidiary Butazyme LLC signs an agreement with Asia-based Phoenix Energy to produce omega-3 oils.

Apricus Biosciences' ($APRI) U.K. distribution partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals accepts the first shipment of the company's topical treatment for erectile dysfunction as it prepares to launch the product there. European regulators approved Vitaros in June followed by national phase approval by the U.K. in August. The $225M ED market is the largest in Europe. Consensus revenue estimates for Apricus are $8M this year and $10.8M in 2015.18 mutual funds have positions, the same number as a year ago.

Zalicus ($ZLCS) has agreed to sell itself to Boston-based Epirus Biopharmaceuticals, a developer of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies, in an all-stock deal. The combined company will trade on Nasdaq and will be led by Epirus' management team, with Amit Munshi as CEO. The deal comes after Zalicus' Z160 therapy for pain treatment failed in two Phase 2 trials. Epirus has also just closed a $36M Series B financing round. The company's pipeline includes biosimilars to Merck's Remicade (inflammatory diseases), AbbVie's Humira (anti-inflammatory, such as for rheumatoid arthritis) and Roche's Avastin (cancer).

Quintiles Transnational ($Q) signs a 5-year contract with OmniComm Systems ($OMCM) for its TrialOne software for Phase 1 clinical trial automation. No financial terms are disclosed.

Surgical device maker ConMed ($CNMD) is exploring a sale of the company, Reuters reported earlier today, after activist investors late last year took issue with its performance and corporate governance. The company's advisers, BoA Merrill Lynch and Greenhill, reportedly have contacted orthopedic device makers in recent weeks to gauge interest.

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