Kindred Healthcare acquires RehabCare. Oculus shares gain on FDA approval. Echo Therapeutics moves closer to 510(k) clearance Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Tuesday, 08 February 2011 20:04
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on February 8, 2011.

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.

Earlier Tuesday:

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.

Also Tuesday:

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.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:AMLN) will be presenting at the ISI Annual Conference in New York on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 4:10 p.m. ET / 1:10 p.m. PT.

Anthera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ANTH), a biopharmaceutical company developing drugs to treat serious diseases associated with abnormal auto-immune responses and inflammation, today announced that it has appointed Lawrence Rosania to the position of Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs and Compliance.

Beckman Coulter, Inc. (NYSE:BEC), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of products that simplify, automate and innovate complex biomedical testing, announced today that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend payout of nineteen cents ($0.19) per share of outstanding common stock, payable on March 13, 2011 to all stockholders of record on March 3, 2011.

Codexis, Inc. (Nasdaq:CDXS) today announced the company will present at the Jefferies Global Clean Technology Conference, to be held in New York, NY on February 23-24, 2011.

CONMED Corporation (NASDAQ: CNMD), a medical technology company specializing in medical devices for surgical and patient monitoring markets, announced today that the Company will participate in the Canaccord Genuity Musculoskeletal Conference on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 2:40 PM Pacific Time.

Dendreon Corporation (Nasdaq:DNDN) today announced that management will host a conference call on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. ET to review fourth quarter and year-end financial results.

First China Pharmaceutical Group, Inc. (OTCBB:FCPG), a rapidly growing pharmaceutical distribution company headquartered in Yunnan, China, is pleased to announce that by working in conjunction with a number of regional financial institutions, it has developed a fund based credit product to facilitate increased commerce in the burgeoning drug distribution sector in China.

Fresh Start Private (OTCBB: CEYY), leader in the alcohol treatment and rehabilitation industry, announcedthat is has placed over $650,000 in radio advertising value starting February 1, 2011 with Clear Channel Los Angeles (CCLA).

GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. (PINKSHEETS: GOSY), a dynamic leader in the emerging mobile robotics industry, announced today it will host its third-annual "Mobile Robots in Motion" stakeholder conference April 13-14, 2011 in Conyers, Ga.

GenVec, Inc. (Nasdaq: GNVC) today announced that Paul H. Fischer, Ph.D., GenVec's President and CEO, will present a company overview highlighting recent developments at the 13th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at 2:30 p.m. EST at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.

Given Imaging Ltd. (NASDAQ: GIVN), a world leader in specialty GI products and pioneer of capsule endoscopy, today announced that Germany's Institut fuer das Entgeltsystem im Krankenhaus (INEK, Institute for Reimbursement in Hospitals) has published the 2011 update of the Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) Codes and Grouper algorithm [determining the level of reimbursement] which now includes an inpatient reimbursement pathway for PillCam® COLON capsule endoscopy.

Hansen Medical, Inc. (NASDAQ: HNSN), the global leader in flexible robotics and the developer of robotic technology for accurate 3D control of catheter movement, announced today that it will release its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010 after market close on Wednesday, February 23, 2011.

Hiru Corporation's (PINKSHEETS:HIRU) main subsidiary Jiangxi Shuangshi Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. announced that the company representatives conducted investigation into business expansion in Wannian County.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex:INO), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, announced today that Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and CEO, will present a corporate overview on Inovio at the 13th Annual BIO CEO & Investor conference being held in New York February 14-15, 2011.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) and Crucell N.V. (NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq:CRXL; Swiss Exchange: CRX) provided further information regarding Johnson & Johnson's proposed acquisition of Crucell.

Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:LXRX), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing breakthrough treatments for human disease, announced today that Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D., Lexicon's president and chief executive officer, will present at the 2011 BIO CEO & Investor Conference in New York on Monday, February 14, 2011 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

MedLink (OTCBB: MLKNA) announced today that MedLink's iSuite 4.0 has been named a fully CCHIT Certified® 2011 Ambulatory EHR, meeting or exceeding the Certifications Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT®) electronic health record (EHR) criteria for office based use.

Neuro-Biotech Corp. (PINKSHEET: MRES) (OTCQB: MRES) Dr Claude Poulin, CEO, and the Board of Directors of Neuro-Biotech Corp. are pleased to announce the signing of its second License Agreement with an Israeli distributor.

NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUVA), a medical device company focused on developing minimally disruptive surgical products and procedures for the spine, announced today that Patrick F. Williams, Vice President of Finance and Investor Relations, is scheduled to present at the 2011 Canaccord Genuity Musculoskeletal Conference at the Westin Hotel in San Diego, CA, on Tuesday, February 15, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. PST.

PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (Nasdaq:PDLI) today announced that John P. McLaughlin, the company's president and chief executive officer, is scheduled to present at the 13th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference on Monday, February 14, 2011, at 11:30 a.m. ET in New York City.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:REGN) will webcast its presentation at the ISI Annual Conference on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

Rosetta Genomics, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ROSG), a leading developer and provider of microRNA-based molecular diagnostics, today announced that, on February 7, 2011, the Company received notice that the Listing Qualifications Staff of The NASDAQ Stock Market has granted the Company's request for an extension to regain compliance with the $2,500,000 stockholders' equity requirement for continued listing on The NASDAQ Capital Market, as set forth in NASDAQ Listing Rule 5550(b).

SK3 Group, Inc. (PINK SHEETS:SKTO) announces that PRN Registry, a nurse and therapist staffing firm based in Los Angeles and serving southern California, is in discussions to expand its presence into Northern California.

SciMeDent Health, Corp. f/k/a Trend Exploration, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: TRDX) is pleased to announce that is has completed a test market study for its new commercial dental suction system cleaner, "BLAST," and is now developing its sales and marketing plan for a national launch of the product.

Stem Cell Assurance, Inc. (Pink Sheets: SCLZ) announced today the engagement of Marcum LLP to audit its financial statements as of December 31, 2009 and 2010 and for the years then ended.

United Therapeutics Corporation (Nasdaq:UTHR) announced today that it will release its fourth quarter and annual 2010 financial results before market open on Tuesday, February 15, 2011.

David H. Fater, CEO of Vicor Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB: VCRT), today announced that the Company's continually expanding nationwide network of independent sales representatives is driving sales of its PD2i Analyzer™ and revenue growth.

Zicix Corporation, formerly known as Bederra Corporation (PINKSHEETS: ZICXD), a diversified medical services provider, announces corporate actions that provide a basis for implementing our new strategic plan.


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