Bioanalytical surges on Pharmasset partnership. GenVec gains on vaccine collaboration. After the bell: Endo gets FDA approval Print E-mail
By Mary Davila   
Wednesday, 29 December 2010 19:33
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on December 29, 2010.

After the bell shares of Endo Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ENDP) moved higher after the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved FORTESTA Gel for the treatment of low testosterone, or 'Low T,' also known as hypogonadism. Symptoms associated with Low T include erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual desire, fatigue and loss of energy, mood depression, regression of secondary sexual characteristics and osteoporosis. Low T is a condition that has an estimated prevalence in nearly 14 million men in the United States, yet only about 1.3 million, (9 percent) are currently being treated. Endo Pharmaceuticals expects to introduce FORTESTA Gel in the United States in early 2011.

In extended trading shares of Endo jumped nearly 5%, gaining $1.73 to $36.95.

Earlier Wednesday:

BASi (Bioanalytical Systems, Inc.) (NASDAQ:BASI), a life sciences company in the Purdue Research Park, has entered into a Preferred Provider Agreement (PPA) with Princeton, New Jersey-based Pharmasset Inc. (NASDAQ:VRUS), a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company committed to discovering, developing and commercializing novel drugs to treat viral infections, to provide preclinical services for pre-IND and post-IND activities. The agreement includes provisions to provide exclusive toxicology services as well as pharmaceutical analysis and bioanalytical services as needed.

BASi President and Chief Executive Officer, Anthony S. Chilton, Ph.D., stated, "The agreement between Pharmasset and BASi is an important strategy and commitment for both companies. It represents a significant step in BASi's strategy to work closely with our partners in the pharmaceutical industry. We look forward to developing our relationship and continuing to contribute to the successful development of Pharmasset's future medicines."

Shares of BASi jumped 65 cents or 32% to $2.67

GenVec, Inc. (Nasdaq:GNVC) today announced that the company will be working with Merial to develop and commercialize GenVec's proprietary vaccine technology for use against foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Merial is the leading FMD vaccine producer in the world, with leading positions in all key markets. Under the agreement, Merial will be responsible for all costs related to the development and commercialization of FMD vaccines developed through the collaboration. GenVec will receive development milestones and royalties on sales.

GenVec's novel FMD vaccine approach utilizes GenVec's proprietary adenovector technology and is manufactured on a proprietary GenVec cell line that is capable of producing antigens without the use of the highly contagious FMD virus. Because the vaccine is produced without using live or killed virus materials, it can be produced cost effectively in the US and around the world.

"We look forward to working with GenVec to explore this promising technology for FMD vaccines," said Teshome Mebatsion, Senior Director Vector Vaccine Research, Merial. Robert Nordgren, Global Head of Merial's Bio R&D added that "Merial sees great potential for GenVec's technology to positively impact the way that animal vaccines are produced and developed."

"Our relationship with Merial complements our strategy of entering into collaborations to support the development of our pipeline of products," said Dr. Paul Fischer, GenVec's President and Chief Executive Officer.

On heavy volume shares of GenVec gained 3 cents or 5.45% to 58 cents.

Shares of Radient Pharmaceuticals Corporation (AMEX:RPC) continued to rise. Today the company announced that it has signed a full-service five-year exclusive distribution agreement with Hong Kong based Bio-Asia Diagnostics Co. Ltd. (Bio-Asia). The signing of this distribution agreement will enable RPC to bring its Onko-Sure IVD cancer test into the Hong Kong healthcare market. The agreement also grants Bio-Asia non-exclusive rights to distribute Onko-Sure®, for research use only, in the People's Republic of China.

Shares of Radient jumped 12% or 11 cents to $1.02.

Marina Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA), moved higher today after the company announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted orphan drug designation to the company's drug candidate CEQ508 for the treatment of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP). CEQ508 is the first drug in a novel class of therapeutic agents utilizing the transkingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi) platform and the first orally administered RNAi-based therapeutic. The Company is in the process of enrolling patients and expects to dose patients in early 2011.

"We are very pleased to have received Orphan Drug Designation for CEQ508," stated J. Michael French, President and CEO at Marina Biotech, Inc. "Individuals with FAP need an effective and safe therapeutic alternative to surgery. We believe that CEQ508 will offer that alternative. The orphan drug designation provides us with significant regulatory and financial incentives to do everything in our power to rapidly move this compound to market. Additionally, we are very impressed at the efficiency, timeliness and support we continue to receive from the FDA in all our regulatory interactions."

Today eHealth, Inc (NASDAQ: EHTH), parent-company of PlanPrescriber highlighted resources and shopping tips available to Medicare beneficiaries on the eHealth consumer blog, Get Smart - Get Covered.

Given Imaging (NASDAQ: GIVN) today announced that Homi Shamir, President and CEO, will present at the 29th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference taking place January 10-13, 2011 in San Francisco.

Microholdings US (PINKSHEETS: MCHU) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase The Racers Edge, Inc.

Transgenomic, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board:TBIO) announced today that it has closed the acquisition of Clinical Data, Inc.'s (Nasdaq:CLDA) diagnostic business with a sales price of $15.5 million.



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