Healthcare Review: Flamel Technologies, Cara Therapeutics, Akorn, Northwest Biotherapeutics, Shire Plc Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Friday, 20 June 2014 13:47
U.S. stocks rose on Friday, pushing the Dow and the S&P 500 to record levels and setting the benchmark index up to score its fourth weekly advance over the past five. But trading is expected to become volatile as the session progresses. Friday marks a "quadruple witching" day - the expiration of stock options, index options, index futures and single-stock futures - as traders close hedging positions or roll them over at the last minute. The six-day run of gains for the S&P 500 index was its longest winning streak since mid-April. For the week so far, the S&P 500 has advanced 1.3 percent, while the Dow has gained 1.1 percent and the Nasdaq has added 1.2 percent.

Shares of Flamel Technologies ($FLML) pop on a 5x surge in volume representing a tidy 450% gain from the December 2012 low of $2.85. The fuel for the uptrend is the expectation that the FDA will issue a ruling that will favor Flamel's Bloxiverz (neostigmine methysulfate injection).

Shares of thinly-traded recent IPO Cara Therapeutics ($CARA) pop on a 2x surge in volume, albeit only ~110K shares thus far in today's session. The company is developing products to treat diseases associated with pain and inflammation. Its lead product is CR845, a peripheral kappa opioid receptor agonist. The company has completed three Phase 2 trials evaluating CR845 in acute post-operative pain. Its value proposition is opioid-like pain relief without the CNS-mediated side effects such as potential dependence, respiratory suppression and bowel suppression.

Citing a poor strategic fit with its focus on niche dosage forms, Akorn (AKRX) sells its subsidiary ECR Pharmaceuticals to Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX +2.9%) for $41M in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. Akorn acquired the branded drug maker when it purchased Hi-Tech Pharmacal last year.

Northwest Biotherapeutics ($NWBO) asserts that Mr. Feuerstein's June 19 article is misleading and inaccurate. For starters, it says that has not received a "rebuke" from any clinical trial site nor is there a basis to receive one. It claims that it has consistently stated that it would release interim data on an ongoing basis regarding the DCVax-Direct Phase 1/2 clinical trial. It confirms that the disclosed data originated from medical files sent to the company from the trial sites and a CRO, but it claims that reporting interim results is not unusual for an unblinded open-label study like DCVax.

Saying the price is still too low, Shire Plc ($SHPG) rejects AbbVie's ($ABBV) latest bid of as much as 27.3B pounds ($46.5B). This is the third offer Shire has spurned. The latest offer values Shire at 46.26 pounds, ~12% premium over today's price in London. The proposal includes a new U.S.-listed holding company with a U.K. tax domicile.




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