|Kindred Healthcare acquires RehabCare. Oculus shares gain on FDA approval. Echo Therapeutics moves closer to 510(k) clearance|
|By Staff and Wire Reports|
|Tuesday, 08 February 2011 20:04|
Shares of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:MNTA), moved higher after the bell after the biotechnology company specializing in the characterization and engineering of complex drugs, announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. 7,884,187, entitled "Analysis of Amino Acid Copolymer Compositions", which includes claims to methods of preparing glatiramer acetate drug product. Glatiramer acetate is marketed as Copaxone which Momenta is developing a generic version with Sandoz, who has filed an Abbreviated New Drug Application with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for the product.
"This patent is an important addition to the Momenta intellectual property portfolio as it is the first U.S. patent to issue from our expanding portfolio of pending patent applications related to glatiramer acetate, also known as Copaxone," stated Craig Wheeler, President and CEO of Momenta. "Protecting Momenta's innovative technology as it relates to this complex pharmaceutical product is an important strategic priority in the development of a generic version of Copaxone."
Shares were up 60 cents or 4.62% during Tuesday trading and jumped another 32 cents to $13.90 in extended trading.
Also after the bell, DURECT Corporation (Nasdaq:DRRX) reported that its collaborator, CreoSalus, Inc., has launched commercial sales of its FDA approved product, SucroMate Equine, an injectable animal health drug utilizing DURECT's SABER technology to deliver the peptide deslorelin. DURECT will receive a royalty on net sales of SucroMate and will supply one of the key excipients in SucroMate. Although this product represents a modest revenue opportunity for DURECT by itself, the SABER technology is the basis for the POSIDUR program currently in a pivotal Phase III clinical trial as well as multiple on-going feasibility projects seeking to deliver proteins and peptides for periods of up to one month from a single injection.
"This is the launch of the first FDA approved SABER-Injectable product and as such it represents a regulatory milestone for DURECT because of the similarities between New Drug Application and New Animal Drug Application Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls section requirements," stated James E. Brown, DVM, President and CEO.
Another acquisition was announed in the healthcare industry as Kindred Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:KND) announced today that it will acquire RehabCare Group, Inc. (NYSE:RHB) for $26 per share in cash and 0.471 of a share of Kindred common stock. Based upon the average value of Kindred common stock during the ten trading days preceding the signing of the merger agreement, each RehabCare stockholder will receive consideration with a current value of approximately $35 per share. Kindred expects to issue approximately 12 million shares in connection with the pending transaction. The aggregate value of the pending transaction approximates $1.3 billion, including approximately $400 million of existing debt.
This transaction will create the largest post-acute healthcare services company in the United States with over $6 billion in annual revenues and operations in 46 states. The combined company will operate 118 long-term acute care hospitals with 8,492 licensed beds, 226 nursing and rehabilitation centers with 27,442 licensed beds, 121 inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and 1,808 hospital, nursing center and assisted living rehabilitation therapy services contracts across the country.
Shares of both stocks shot up on the news with RehabCare surging $11.58 or 45% to $37.05 while Kindred jumped $5.52 or 28% to $25.00.
Shares of Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:OCLS), surged today after the company announced today that it had received a new FDA 510(k) clearance for its uniquely formulated Microcyn-based Epicyn HydroGel. The skin compound is indicated to manage and relieve the burning, itching and pain experienced with various types of dermatoses, including atopic dermatitis and radiation dermatitis. Dermatitis is a kind of skin inflammation that is brought about by various factors, including an allergic reaction and prolonged exposure to radiation.
Epicyn HydroGel may also be used to relieve the pain of first- and second-degree burns and can help to relieve dry waxy skin by maintaining a moist wound and skin environment, which is beneficial to the healing process. The hydrogel is a shelf-stable hypochlorous acid formulation based on the company’s proprietary Microcyn Technology platform.
"Our newly approved dermatology indication opens two interesting new markets to Oculus — atopic dermatitis, which afflicts 15 million U.S. patients, and radiation dermatitis, with over one million U.S. patients. The use of the proprietary Microcyn Technology for these challenging skin afflictions is truly a unique approach and adds both depth and breadth to Oculus’ dermatology product portfolio," said Hoji Alimi, founder and CEO of Oculus. "And in line with our business strategy, we plan to partner this new indication at the earliest for faster commercialization."
Oculus designs, produces and markets safe and effective tissue care products based upon the Microcyn® Technology platform, which significantly reduces the need for antibiotics while reducing infections and accelerating healing.
Shares of Oculus soared 41 cents or 22.28% to $2.25.
Echo Therapeutics, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board:ECTE.ob), saw its shares move higher today after the company today announced that the it's partner, Ferndale Pharma Group, LLC, received comments from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the 510(k) submission of the Prelude SkinPrep System that were deemed minor and were consistent with both companies' expectations. Echo anticipates that the comments will be addressed quickly and that the planned commercial launch date for the product will remain on track, pending FDA clearance.
As a result of the feedback from the FDA, the Company is now accelerating the final Prelude manufacturing validation and scale-up in order to prepare for commercial launch. Management reiterated its expectation that 2011 will be a transformative year as Echo expects Prelude to receive market clearance and to generate revenues in the third quarter of 2011. Echo is developing the Symphony tCGM System as a non-invasive, wireless, transdermal continuous glucose monitoring (tCGM) system and the Prelude SkinPrep System for transdermal drug delivery.
On heavy volume, shares of Echo gained 11% or 34 cents to $3.40.
Neoprobe Corporation (OTCBB: NEOP), edged higher Tuesday after the diversified developer of innovative oncology surgical and diagnostic products, after the bell Monday announced that its common stock, which currently trades on the OTC Bulletin Board, will begin trading on the NYSE Amex on or about February 10, 2011. In connection with the listing the Company’s ticker symbol will change to "NEOP" from "OTCBB:NEOP".
"Joining the NYSE Amex is a major growth milestone for our shareholders and employees," said David C. Bupp, President and Chief Executive Officer of Neoprobe Corporation. "The NYSE Amex listing will provide Neoprobe with improved liquidity and expanded visibility in the investment community, allowing us to strengthen and grow our investor base."
Shares gained 19 cents or 6.19% to $3.26.
Somaxon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOMX), a specialty pharmaceutical company, today announced that it has engaged its contract sales force partner Publicis Touchpoint Solutions, Inc. to recruit and deploy for Somaxon an additional 35 sales representatives that will exclusively promote Silenor. Somaxon also announced that it has obtained from Comerica Bank a two-year, $15 million revolving line of credit for working capital needs and general corporate purposes.
"Since the launch of Silenor in September, we have consistently increased the monthly number of physicians who have prescribed Silenor," said Richard W. Pascoe, Somaxon’s President and Chief Executive Officer. "In addition, of those doctors who have prescribed Silenor, we achieved a 4% share of their insomnia prescriptions within the first two months of launch. We believe the expansion of our sales force in the first quarter will allow us to build upon these positive trends as we continue to actively assess our performance and deploy our resources in the most effective manner."
Shares of Somaxon gained 10 cents or 3.39% to $3.05.
AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that medical imaging specialist Barco has selected ATI FirePro™ 3D Professional Graphics technology for inclusion in its MXRT Series display controller products for demanding medical imaging applications.