EpiCept reports positive Phase II results. Optimer gets license deal. Universal Hospital acquires Emergent Group Print E-mail
By BioMedReports.com Staff   
Monday, 07 February 2011 19:46
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on February 7, 2011.

EpiCept Corporation (Nasdaq and Nasdaq OMX Stockholm Exchange: EPCT) today announced positive results from a Phase IIb trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of EpiCeptNP-1 in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CPN). EpiCept NP-1 is a topical analgesic cream containing two FDA-approved drugs, amitriptyline and ketamine. The drug is in development for the relief of pain from various peripheral neuropathies.

More than 460 cancer survivors suffering from painful CPN were enrolled in the six-week study with the results of the trial achieved a statistically significant reduction in CPN intensity versus placebo, which was the trial’s primary endpoint. The trial also showed that the safety profile of NP-1 was comparable to placebo.

"CPN is an area of great unmet medical need," said Jack Talley, EpiCept President and CEO. "Millions of cancer survivors suffer from the effects of their chemotherapy and no treatment is yet approved for this painful indication. We are very excited about the positive results achieved by NP-1 in this trial and are highly optimistic about its potential to be a new and effective treatment option for sufferers of CPN. We look forward to discussing these results with prospective partners for the Phase III development and commercialization of NP-1."

Shares of EpiCept jumped 10 cents or 13% to $0.85

Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OPTR) today announced that it has struck a deal with Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. The agreement calls for an exclusive collaboration and license agreement to develop and commercialize fidaxomicin, an investigational antibiotic for CDI, in Europe and certain other countries in the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). announced today the signing of Astellas will pay Optimer an upfront cash payment of approximately $68 million for the exclusive license. Optimer is also eligible to receive additional cash payments totaling up to approximately $156 million upon the achievement of certain regulatory and commercial milestones. Astellas will also pay tiered double-digit royalty payments on net sales of fidaxomicin in the territory. Astellas will be responsible for all future costs associated with the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of fidaxomicin in the territory including the costs of the ongoing Marketing Authorization Application with the European Medicines Agency. C. difficile infection (CDI), is a serious illness caused by infection of the lining of the colon. Late stage clinical trials showed that fidaxomicin was an equally effective cure compared with vancomycin, the only other FDA approved product for CDI. The drug also demonstrated superiority in reducing recurrences of the infection.

Shares of Optimer rose 54 cents or 4.5% to $1.38.

Emergent Group Inc. (NYSE Amex Equities:LZR), a leading provider of mobile medical lasers and surgical equipment through its wholly owned subsidiary, PRI Medical Technologies, Inc., today announced that it has agreed to be acquired by Universal Hospital Services, Inc. (NYE: UHS) for $8.46 per share cash. The estimated total enterprise value of the transaction including debt assumption is approximately $70 million.

PRI Medical currently operates in 16 states and provides surgical equipment and laser technology to hospitals, outpatient surgery centers and physicians' offices. "PRI Medical will allow us to expand our offerings into state-of-the-art surgical equipment and services for our hospital and surgery center customers," said Gary Blackford, Chairman and CEO of UHS. "It will enhance and expand our ability to meet our commitment to our customers to bring comprehensive solutions that reduce costs, increase efficiencies and drive better health care outcomes."

Shares of Emergent Group surged $2.31 or 28% to $8.37.

Beckman Coulter, Inc. (NYSE:BEC), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of products that simplify, automate and innovate complex biomedical testing, and Danaher, a diversified technology leader that designs, manufactures, and markets innovative products and services to professional, medical, industrial, and commercial customers, announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Danaher will acquire all of Beckman Coulter's outstanding common stock for $83.50 per share in cash, representing an approximate 45% premium over the closing price of Beckman Coulter's common stock on December 9, 2010 before rumors of an acquisition entered the marketplace.

Shares of Beckman gained $7.48 or 10% to $82.65.

Depomed, Inc. (NASDAQ:DEPO) today announced that in its second Phase 1 pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamic study in Parkinson's patients, DM-1992, Depomed's investigative novel gastric-retentive, extended-release formulation of levodopa/carbidopa, maintained therapeutic blood levels of levodopa over 24 hours in a twice-daily formulation.

Salix Pharmaceuticals, Ltd. (Nasdaq:SLXP) and Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:PGNX) today announced that they have entered into an exclusive worldwide (except Japan) agreement by which Salix has licensed rights to RELISTOR. RELISTOR Subcutaneous Injection is indicated for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation in patients with advanced illness who are receiving palliative care, when response to laxative therapy has not been sufficient. Use of RELISTOR beyond 4 months has not been studied.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Ferrosan’s consumer healthcare business, which includes dietary supplements and lifestyle products, from Altor 2003 Fund GP Limited. Based in Copenhagen, Ferrosan is an innovative and long-established consumer healthcare company in the Nordic region with a portfolio of leading brands. Since 1920, Ferrosan has grown to serve a broader market including Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Turkey and many countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

Also Monday:

Abbott (NYSE:ABT)  announced today that it has introduced the PLEX-ID™ Biothreat Assay, which is designed to detect and distinguish 17 different biothreat pathogens.
 

BioSpecifics Technologies Corp. (Nasdaq:BSTC), a biopharmaceutical company developing first in class collagenase-based products, today announced that its Board of Directors has amended its Rights Agreement (the "Rights Agreement"), adopted May 14, 2002 and previously amended June 19, 2003.

D. Medical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ:DMED) (TASE:DMDC) a medical device company engaged through its subsidiaries in the research, development, manufacture and sale of innovative products for diabetes treatment and drug delivery, announced today that its subsidiary, Spring-Set Health Solutions Ltd. (formerly "Medx-Set Ltd."), has achieved ISO 13485:2003 and ISO 9001:2008 certifications.

DURECT Corporation (Nasdaq:DRRX) announced today that Matt Hogan (Chief Financial Officer) will be presenting at the BIO CEO & Investor Conference on Monday, February 14 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The conference is being held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

eHealthInsurance (NASDAQ: EHTH), the leading online source of health insurance for individuals and families, published answers to frequently asked questions for consumers who wish to enroll their children in individually purchased "child-only" health insurance policies in the state of Oregon.

Genoptix, Inc. (Nasdaq:GXDX) announced today that the Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended applicable to the cash tender offer by Novartis to purchase all outstanding shares of common stock of Genoptix at USD$25.00 per share.

Healthcare Services Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:HCSG) reported that revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2010 increased 11% to $202,087,000 compared to $182,561,000 for the same 2009 period.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex:INO), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, announced today that its new generation DNA vaccine delivery technology, which provides the powerful enabling capabilities of electroporation without contacting the skin, is highlighted in a paper published in the scientific journal Human Vaccines.

IntelGenx Corp. (TSX VENTURE:IGX) (OTCBB:IGXT) today announced the completion of a pilot study that indicates that IntelGenx has successfully developed a novel oral film, INT0022, that is bioequivalent to a leading branded anti-psychotic.

Luminex Corporation (Nasdaq:LMNX) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.

The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS) has announced it will participate in Goldman Sachs Fifteenth Annual Agricultural Biotech Forum taking place on Wednesday, February 9, 2011.

Patient Access Solutions Inc. (PINKSHEETS: PASO) announced today that Bruce Weitzberg, President and CEO of the Company has been featured in an in-depth video interview on CEOinsiderTV.com.

PROLOR Biotech, Inc., (NYSE Amex:PBTH), a clinical stage company developing next generation biobetter therapeutic proteins, today announced that Dr. Abraham Havron, CEO of PROLOR, will give a corporate presentation at the Leerink Swann Hot Topics in Therapeutics: Roundtable Conference.

Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:QCOR) today announced that it will release financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010 on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 after the close of the U.S. financial markets.

SciMeDent Health, Corp. f/k/a Trend Exploration, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: TRDX) is pleased to announce, its wholly owned subsidiary, Preferred Distribution, Inc., has applied to the State of Louisiana for its out of state wholesale distribution license.

Tengion, Inc. (Nasdaq:TNGN), a leader in regenerative medicine, today announced that Steven Nichtberger, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Tengion, will present at the upcoming 13th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference on Monday, February 14, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. EST.

Unity Management Group, Inc. (PINKSHEETS:UYMG) a Health Resource Company specializing in Physician and Hospital Practice Management, Medical Discount Plans, Business Services, Billing Software and Technologies, along with Pharmacy Instrumentation, and Calibration.




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