Healthcare Review: Cytokinetics, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, ImmunoGen Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 25 April 2014 13:18
U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with consumer discretionary stocks leading the way lower as a number of bellwether names, including Amazon and Ford, fell following their quarterly results. Despite the decline on the day, the S&P 500 is on track for its second straight week of gains and is 1.6 percent below its all-time high. Investors also continued to pay attention to intensifying geopolitical strife over Ukraine. U.S. President Barack Obama and four European allies agreed Friday Russia failed to live up to terms of the Ukraine peace accord, and would coordinate on a response to "impose costs" on Russia, the White House said.

Shares of Cytokinetics ($CYTK) are set for an ugly day of trading after its lead product tirasemtiv misses its Phase 2b primary endpoint of significantly improving muscle function compared to placebo in ALS patients. The disappointing result forces the company to consider ending the product's development. Last year the firm made a dosing error in the clinical trial when it mistakenly gave placebos to patients in the treatment arm. The foul-up delayed the trial by three months and forced it to take a $5M charge. The company's other lead program, omecamtiv mecarbil via a partnership with Amgen, also failed a Phase 2b trial (IV formulation) last September. Amgen awaits the results of a mid-stage trial on an oral formulation before deciding to proceed or exit.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NYSEMKT:INO)’s shares dropped 5% to $2.47. The company on Apr. 1 announced the appointment of E.J. Brandreth as Vice President of Quality. He will be responsible for all quality and compliance functions for a company that is moving forward with numerous late and early stage clinical trials and scaling up manufacturing and other operational areas to support its broad pipeline of immunotherapies and DNA vaccines. He will report to Inovio's Chief Operating Officer Dr. Niranjan Sardesai. Prior to joining Inovio, Mr. Brandreth had a successful career transitioning start-up clinical biotech operations into successful commercial entities; he supported the growth of several pharmaceutical companies in the quality and compliance areas.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIA)’s shares declined 4.18% to $7.14. The company on Apr. 2 announced the appointment of Hugh M. Cole to the position of senior vice president and chief business officer. Mr. Cole will be responsible for global business and corporate development, licensing and strategic planning. He will report to ARIAD’s chairman and chief executive officer, Harvey J. Berger, M.D.

Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMGN)’s shares declined 1.08% to $112.49. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Inc., an Amgen subsidiary ($AMGN), on Apr. 23 announced that The Lancet published online results from the Phase 3 DECISION trial which demonstrated that NEXAVAR® (sorafenib) tablets significantly extended the time patients with locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, differentiated thyroid carcinoma that is refractory to radioactive iodine treatment lived without their disease worsening (progression-free survival; PFS).

ImmunoGen, Inc. (NASDAQ:IMGN)’s shares decreased 8.34% to $12.64. The company on Apr. 24 reported financial results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2014 – the third quarter of the Company’s 2014 fiscal year. ImmunoGen also provided an update on Company and partner product programs. For the Company’s quarter ended March 31, 2014 (3Q FY2014), ImmunoGen reported a net loss of $37.5 million, or $0.44 per basic and diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.4 million, or $0.02 per basic and diluted share, for the same quarter last year (3Q FY2013). Revenues for 3Q FY2014 were $6.9 million, compared to $25.0 million for 3Q FY2013. Revenues in the current period include $0.3 million of license and milestone fees, compared to $22.0 million in 3Q FY2013.

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