Healthcare review: BioTime, Dara BioSciences, Retrophin, Cell Therapeutics, Qiagen Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 30 May 2014 14:11
U.S. stocks and bonds edged lower, paring their gains for the month, as personal spending and income data fell short of forecasts Friday. The S&P 500 slipped less than one point to 1920 in midafternoon trading. The index was up 1.9% so far in May, on pace for its fourth-straight monthly advance and the biggest such gain since February. Selling in government bonds pushed the 10-year note's yield up to 2.468%, according to Tradeweb, paring the biggest monthly price gain since January for bonds. Uncertainty about the global economy, coupled with major central bankers' intention to keep interest rates near zero, has bolstered investors' confidence in buying bonds of late. Traders also said this year's gains in bond prices have forced investors to unwind bearish bets, pushing the market higher.

BioTime ($BTX) subsidiary Asterias Biotherapeutics receives a $14.3M strategic partnership award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The award supports the company's Phase 1/2 dose escalation trial of AST-OPC1 in cervical spinal cord injury.

Dara BioSciences ($DARA) prices its Series C-1 Convertible Preferred Stock at $12.5M, convertible into ~11.26M shares of common at $1.11/share. The offering includes immediately-exercisable warrants to purchase ~11.26M shares at $1.67, half with a five-year term and half with a thirteen-month term.

Shares of Retrophin ($RTRX) are up 32% premarket on robust volume in response to the company's upward revision of its 2014 revenue guidance to $30M - 35M from $20M - 22M and 2015 revenue guidance to $60M - 70M from $36M - 41M after it acquired the marketing rights to Mission Pharmacal's Thiola (tiopronin) for the treatment of cystinuria. RTRX plans to file an IND within two months followed by a Phase 1 trial.

Effective May 30, Cell Therapeutics ($CTIC) will change its corporate name to CTI BioPharma Corporation. It will continue to trade under the symbol "CTIC." President and CEO James A. Bianco, M.D. says, "The rebranding from Cell Therapeutics to CTI BioPharma comes at a defining moment in our company's history and better reflects who we are today and our aspirations for becoming a leader in developing therapies for patients with blood-related cancers."

Qiagen ($QGEN) and Eli Lilly ($LLY) collaborate to co-develop universal and modular assay panels for the simultaneous analysis of DNA and RNA biomarkers targeting multiple cellular pathways involved in common cancer types. The agreement includes tests based on QGEN's multi-modal multi-analyte Modaplex analysis platform which can process multiple sample types and biomarkers in a single test.

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