Prana Biotech soars on Alzheimer's study finding. Positive skin cancer data boosts Curis. XenoPort will stop development on heartburn drug Print E-mail
By BioMedReports.com Staff   
Monday, 21 March 2011 19:04
Below is a look at some of the headlines for companies that made news in the healthcare sector on March 21, 2011.
Shares of Prana Biotechnology (NASDAQ:PRAN) (ASX:PBT) soared today after the company announced new data on the ability of PBT2 to repair the damage in an Alzheimer's affected brain thereby facilitating the restoration of cognition in Alzheimer's Disease (AD). The findings help to explain the rapid improvement in cognition previously reported in transgenic Alzheimer's mice and in patients in a Phase IIa clinical trial with PBT2.


"The ability of PBT2 to promote the forming and reforming of connections between neurons is fundamental to the repair of brain tissue damaged by AD, and the expression of key neuronal receptors and signaling proteins indicates that the repaired tissue is functional," noted Prana's Head of Research, Associate Professor Robert Cherny, going on to say, "These findings further demonstrate the unique combination of detoxification and neuronal restoration provided by PBT2 that underlie cognitive improvement in the clinic."


Shares were up a whopping $1.23 or 84% to $2.70. More than 9 million shares traded hands. In extended trading shares gained another 18 cents.


Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS), today announced a positive outcome from a pivotal Phase II clinical trial conducted by Roche and Genentech, Curis’ collaborator and a wholly owned member of the Roche Group, of GDC-0449, a first-in-class hedgehog pathway inhibitor, in patients with advanced basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Genentech informed Curis that the study met its primary endpoint of achieving a target overall response rate, showing that GDC-0449 shrank advanced BCC tumors in a pre-defined percentage of people in the study. A preliminary safety assessment showed the most common adverse events were consistent with previous experience with vismodegib. A detailed safety assessment is ongoing. Roche has indicated that it anticipates making at least one regulatory submission in 2011 to seek approval to commercialize GDC-0449.


On heavy volume shares of Curis gained 32 cents or 11% to $3.25.


Shares of XenoPort, Inc. (Nasdaq:XNPT) slumped toady after the company announced preliminary top-line results from a Phase 2b clinical trial of arbaclofen placarbil (also known as AP) as adjunctive therapy in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) who do not experience complete relief of GERD symptoms while being treated with proton pump inhibitors (PPI). Due to the study results the company said it will stop studying the drug candidate. None of the four AP dose reimens studied showed any statistically significant improvements over a placebo.


Shares fell as low as $5.79 before rebounding and closing the day at $6.26, down 41 cents or 6%.


OXiGENE, Inc. (Nasdaq:OXGN), a clinical-stage, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics to treat cancer and eye diseases, announced today that it has received minutes from a Type C meeting held on March 16, 2011, between OXiGENE and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to discuss next steps in the development of ZYBRESTAT as a potential treatment for anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC).


As the company anticipated, the FDA indicated at the meeting that the data from the FACT trial are suggestive of possible clinical activity that may warrant continued development, and that to seek regulatory approval, OXiGENE should plan to conduct an additional clinical trial with a survival endpoint. The FDA also confirmed that, as the company had expected, the Special Protocol Agreement (SPA) that had been agreed upon at the start of the study is no longer in effect.
"We appreciate the candid discussions and constructive feedback we received from the FDA representatives," said Peter Langecker, Chief Executive Officer of OXiGENE. "We believe that the totality of the data, which showed that of 84 ATC patients treated with ZYBRESTAT, 20 (approximately 24%) survived one year or longer as compared to a historical rate of less than 10%, provides a compelling basis for further study."


Shares jumped 35 cents or 19% to $2.17.


Cephalon, Inc. (Nasdaq:CEPH) announced today that it has signed a definitive merger agreement under which it will acquire all of the outstanding capital stock of Gemin X Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a privately-held biopharmaceutical company developing first-in-class cancer therapeutics, for $225 million cash on a cash-free, debt-free basis. Gemin X stockholders could also receive up to $300 million in cash payments upon the achievement of certain regulatory and sales milestones. Gemin X is developing a pipeline of targeted cancer therapeutics based on reinitiating programmed forms of cell death, including apoptotic and autophagic cell death, and based on the inhibition of metabolism in cancerous cells. "I am pleased to have entered into a merger agreement with Gemin X," said Kevin Buchi, CEO of Cephalon. "Its array of novel, targeted cancer therapeutics is a welcome addition to our current oncology portfolio. I am particularly excited about Gemin X's lead compound, obatoclax, which if successful has the potential to significantly benefit patients suffering from small cell lung cancer – a devastating disease for which current treatments are limited and additional therapies are desperately needed."

Also Monday:

AdCare Health Systems, Inc. (NYSE Amex:ADK), a nursing home and assisted living company, will hold a conference call on Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time to discuss results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2010.

Axia Group (PINK SHEETS:AGIJ) is pleased to announce that its Marine Collagen Hydration Creams are being evaluated by two additional regional retail chains in the United States.

EPIC Corporation (PINKSHEETS: EPOR) , announce that it is undergoing a restructuring and reorganization with a dedication to making an impact on people's lives.

Given Imaging Ltd. (NASDAQ: GIVN), world leader in specialty GI products and pioneer of capsule endoscopy, today announced that the Regional Court in Düsseldorf, Germany has ruled that the MiroCam capsule endoscopy system manufactured by IntroMedic of South Korea infringes two patents asserted by Given Imaging.

Health Enhancement Products, Inc. (OTCBB:HEPI) today outlined recent developments within the company in an effort to keep shareholders informed of its progress.

Microholdings US, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: MCHU) and its subsidiary, The Racers Edge, has announced its partnership with Jim Dunn Racing as an associate sponsor of its Rislone Fuel Injector Cleaner Chevy Funny Car driven by Paul Lee.

MWI Veterinary Supply, Inc. (NASDAQ:MWIV) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Nelson Laboratories Limited Partnership for approximately $7 million.

PPJ Enterprise (PINKSHEETS: PPJE), a leader in proprietary automated health care reimbursement cycle software (all specialties), online health information digital systems software and practice information management digital system software for health care providers and general businesses worldwide, has announced that its subsidiary, Professional Billing Service (PBS), has signed a contract to provide its full suite of services to a California based orthopedic physician's group.

Universal Detection Technology (OTCBB: UNDT), a developer of early-warning monitoring technologies that protect against biological, chemical, and radiological threats, announced today that it has signed an agreement for radiation detection distribution in Japan.

Versus Technology, Inc. (PINKSHEETS:VSTI) announced revenues of $1,153,000 for the fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2011, a 35.7% decline over revenues of $1,793,000 for the same period in 2010.




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